Climate of the Nahe valley
Rainfall at the source of the Nahe is much higher (900mm per year) than at its mouth (up to 550mm per year). The average yearly temperature at the source is around 7 degrees Celsius, while the area of the lower Nahe averages 9.5 degrees Celsius, making it one of the warmest and driest areas of Germany.
This climate gives rise to certain plants and groups of wild flowers otherwise not seen in Germany: Felsheide, Steppenheide and Felsahornwald, as well as species usually restricted to a Mediterranean habitat. Typical plants are Juneberry, Wild apple and Mahaleb Cherry. Dittany (Dictamnus albus), Mountain Medlar, Feather Grass, Blue Saxifrage und Hart's Tongue Fern were already described in detail in 1735 by Johann Christian Senckenberg of Frankfurt, a physician and naturalist. Some types of orchids, such as the rare Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum hircinum) also belong to the botanical gems of these latitudes. All this was known in medieval times, because Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), the most famous woman of her time, collected and described plants along the Nahe, especially medicinal plants. Today it seems remarkable that in the "Physica" by Hildegard von Bingen, there are more than 250 types of plant described.
Where else can you find so many wild orchids and other botanical treasures?
The "Nature Paradise Nahe-Hunsrück" contains numerous nature reserves where it is illegal to do anything destructive or damaging to the balance of nature. Nature reserves represent a little piece of "natural" landscape, giving the flora and fauna an undisturbed place to develop, and people —if they are careful in their dealing with it— an opportunity for relaxation and the experience of unspoilt nature. In the middle Nahe area the microclimate of the nature reserves at the Hellberg near Kirn, at the Maasberg and the Disibodenberg near Bad Sobernheim, at the Heimberg near Schloßböckelheim, as well as at the Lemberg, the Rotenfels and the Rheingrafenstein near Bad Münster am Stein, have allowed unique plant and animal types to develop. More than 800 kilometres of marked nature trails of the Nahe-Hunsrück region invite you to exercise and relaxation. Pictured above is a wonderful example of Purpur-Knabenkraut which makes the nature reserve Maasberg famous.
For further information: Peitz E., Ein alter Weinberg wird Orchideen-Schutzgebiet. Die Orchidee 35(1), 1984: 31-34
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