Forests

The most significant phenomenon of the Medvednica Nature Park are forests, which cover 81% of the park surface.   Somewhat larger lawn areas are on the park borders, and rarely found  within the forest complex of Medvednica.

Vegetation of Medvednica is largely represented by natural and preserved forests. The diversity of  embossments, the variety of geological structures and soil types appears as many as in 12 forest communities, which show a distinct distribution of types depending on the altitude and exposure.

The hillsides at the foot of the Medvednica are covered by  sessile oaks and common hornbeam forests, forming a ring around the whole mountain. Sessile oaks and sweet chestnut forests  grow on gentle slopes above 300 m, and during autumn  are very popular for chestnut picking. sSessile oak forests with mouse-ear hawkweed appear on the warm, south-facing ridges. Beech forests appear above the sessile oak forests and cover most of Medvednica: beech forests with woodrush have a monotonous configuration while the Dinaric beech forests with deadnettle are significantly richer in species. Above 800 m there are distinguishable Pannonian beech and silver fir forestsSycamore and common ash forests occasionally occur in cold, damp valleys near the mountain top. Relict linden and yew forests which grow on limestone foundation can be found only on a few locations (Horvatove stube, Lipa-Rog) and are also very interesting and rich with rare and thermophile species. Thermophile downy oak and manna ash forests, as well as sessile oak forests with black pea plants are found on the south slopes and carbonate foundations. Black alder forests with elongated sedge appear near larger streams at the foot of the mountain. A peculiarity of this area is the typical lowland pedunculated oak and common hornbeam forest which grows in the Park near the Golubovec Castle.

Due to the diversity of forests on Medvednica 8 special reserves of forest vegetation were declared in 1963.

Beech is the most common type of tree on Medvednica, and it is also the most adaptable species that can be found at all altitudes, from bottom to top. From its wood, furniture and numerous other useful items are made, and pigs were sent to feed on its abundant fruit – beechnuts. Within the Nature Park there are several beautiful locations covered with beech forests:  reserves called Mikulić potok – Vrabečka gora and Pušinjak – Gorščica.

Curiosities

BEECH – a symbol of power and wealth

In the past it took up significant place in the mythology of many nations.
In Galia and the Pyrenees, Fagus was the god of all beech trees. In Greek mythology, it is dedicated to the supreme god Zeus. In our region, it was believed that forest fairies are born from beech buds.
The Old Slavs believed that the beech growing near the house keeps them safe from evil spells.
There was a custom for a wedding occasion or for a birth of a child on the day of Saint Anthony of Padua in Italy- people would stage a symbolic wedding of beech tree and pine branches.
If someone dreams of beech forests  he or she will get unexpected gains.
The first manuscripts were written on thin beech plates, hence the German name for book buch and in the English book.
Beech is a symbol of Denmark.
In Macedonia, the  traditional musical instrument,  a drum called tapan is made from beech wood.
Beech leaf is rich in vitamin C.