Somewhere in the French Alps

You know when someone drives you somewhere and you realise you chatted to them rather than looking where you were going?  So today I went into the French Alps on a field trip.  Luckily my phone records where photos are taken so it seems I went to the base of Aiguille de Loriaz in the Vallorcine Valley.  Anyway I was in France, and in the mountains.  Mt Blanc was invisible because of cloud but we should have been able to see it.

chaminei

I selected the mountain trip for the BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International) congress which I am currently attending in Geneva. I was probably hooked on alpine plants when I studied the New Zealand alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis oreophila) and I couldn’t wait to get beyond the forest.  


Again the forest is spruce (Picea abies) and larch (Larix decidua) forest [which has been THE forest type in my whole trip] but we eventually popped out above the tree line, over 2000m, to these wonderful meadows.

Sempervivum tectorum at 2000m
Rhododendron ferrugineum which grows on the acid soils created by frequent avalanches
Platanthera bifolia an orchid in the lower meadows
 

I’ll have to work on the names of other plants we saw, but we saw many orchids and herbs

 It hailed at one point, a reminder the weather’s far from benign in the mountains, but luckily after our lunch stop!
If it wasn’t cloudy you would see Mt Blanc behind me

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