Saltar la navegación

Ayuntamiento de la Anteiglesia de Abadiño

Parque Natural de Urkiola · Ayuntamiento de Abadiño


Menú principal

The forests


Bosque de hayas y abedules de Txupitaspe. El otoño es una de las mejores épocas para visitar los bosques naturales de Urkiola
Txupitaspe birch and beech forests. The Urkiola forests are at their best in autumn.

The beech forest is the largest in the Urkiola Natural Park (nearly 20% of the surface area). As Urkiola has such a high rainfall and with so many clouds, this is an ideal place for the beech to grow and extensive forests have spread over the mountain sides, at over 600 metres above sea level. It is a very gloomy forest and the lack of lights stops plants from developing in the undergrowth and the floor of the beech forest is usually covered with dry leaves, with hardly any plants. Some plants, such as the daffodils and the dog’s tooth violet, avoid the gloom by flowering before the leaves come out, even before the winter is over.

There are two different types of beech trees on these mountains. The one that grows on the limestone rocks and the one that grows on the siliceous substrata, each with its own specific flower. Other trees and bushes, such as the birch, European mountain ash, rock whitebeam and the holly, are found growing with the beech. The birch is a colonising trees that forms copses in the clearings of the beech forest and on abandoned land. It often grows alongside the beech, as can be seen at the Txupitaspe birch copse. Beech forest were heavily felled in the past and even though some old pollarded beeches can still be seen, the majority of the Urkiola beech forests are very young, less than 100 years old The Park’s most extensive beech forests are on the Saibi, on the Urkiolagirre, on the Eskuagatx massif and on the Arangio mountain range.

Typical species in the beech forest

Beech - Fagus sylvatica

Deciduous tree, up to 30 m high and with a round crown. Its bark is grey and smooth. The leaves are lanceolate and the edge is slightly wavy. It blooms from May to June and produces a fruit known as a beech nut in early autumn. There are extensive beech forests in Urkiola, with the best examples being at Saibi, Urkiolagirre, Arangio, Eskuagatx and Kondebaso. Beech wood was used in the past to make charcoal using the pollard technique.

Birch - Betula alba

Deciduous tree, up to 20 m high and with a conical-pyramid crown. Its bark is whitish and smooth with small horizontal stripes. The leaves are triangular or rhomboid in shape with a serrated edge. It blooms in May to June and its small winged fruits grow in hanging spikes. It grows in clearings in beech forests and heathland, often on damp slopes. The name of Urkiola comes precisely from its name in Basque.

Holly - Ilex aquifolium

Perennial bush that does not usually grow over 5 m high. Its branches and its shiny and prickly leaves give it a very compact aspect. It blooms from April to June and its bright red berries are ripe in June. There are male and female hollies and it is the latter that produce the fruit. Some years ago, holly was used as a Christmas decoration and became scarce, even though it is recovering again. It is a protect species.

Liverwort - Hepatica nobilis

Small plant that can grow up to 15 cm high, perennial, hard leaves and with three equal lobules. It flowers from March and May and the flowers can be white, blue, violet or pink. It grows abundantly in early spring in the Aitz-Txiki beech forest. The fresh leaves can be used to prepare a tincture that is good for bronchitis and throat infections.

Dog’s Tooth Violet - Erythronium dens-canis
Diente de perro

Plant that grows to 10-30 cm high, with two elliptic-lanceolate opposite leaves and with numerous reddish-brown spots located near to the base. It flowers from February to April and the flowers are pink in colour, which often hang downwards and with petals curving backwards. It can easily be found in the beech forests near to Urkiola pass and the Aldazitala reforested areas. It blooms early on and together with the daffodil, it creates a spectacular carpet of colours against the dry beech leaves at the end of winter.

Meadow daffodil - Narcissus gr. pseudonarcissus
arciso de los prados

Bulb plant that grows 20-25 cm high, with narrow and very long bluish-green leaves. It flowers from February to April and produces a single, large, hanging, yellow flower. The central crown of the flower is a brighter yellow than the outside tepals. It grows in the beech and birch forests, and damp meadows. The area around Amilla and the forests near to the Urkiola pass are excellent places to see this beautiful daffodil. It is a protect species.

2006 - 2007 © Anteiglesia de Abadiño Town Council - All rights reserved