Lowland hay meadows
The sight of a colourful meadow full of flowers is guaranteed to raise the spirits, but in today’s intensely cultivated landscape we often see featureless grassland where meadows once stood. Many meadow plants are now on the Red List and are classified as endangered. Nevertheless, the many diverse natural areas in the Wesel district still offer potential for a wonderful range of meadow species. These lowland hay meadows take their name from oat grass, a tall-growing grass typically found in meadows but also at roadsides or in borders. If the meadow is located on dry, alkaline-rich soil and in a moderate climate, a very colourful sage and oat grass meadow can develop. At present, such conditions can only be found on the dykes along the Rhine.
Plants characteristically found in this type of meadow include the luminous deep blue meadow sage (Salvia pratensis), the round-headed salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) and the delicate, pink to lilac coloured blooms of field scabious (Knautia arvensis) and small scabious (Scabiosa columbaria). The more common and well known ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and brown knapweed (Centaurea jacea) can also be found here.
In recent years, scientists at the Biologische Station im Kreis Wesel have developed activities in other areas of the Wesel district to create colourful meadows from the green monotony. Here on the Rhine bend at Orsoy, it is also a priority to promote the lowland hay meadows that have become so rare nowadays. Using a wealth of experience from other projects, 17,3 hectares of this increasingly rare type of habitat have been optimised or created from scratch on the Rhine bend at Orsoy.