Limestone Pavement : Grassland

Some of the clint tops in the limestone pavement have small saucer-shaped depressions or shallow pans. These pools hold water or, often, a layer of organic material, which includes an algae called Nostoc. This algae exudes a mild acid which further breaks down the limestone.

In this way an even larger depression is formed which will eventually hold enough soil capable of sustaining a disparate range of plants and grasses. In some areas the limestone is covered by a layer of soil providing patches of grassy meadows, varying in size from small patches to full-sized fields.

This grassland supports spring gentian and many of the native orchids.


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