Eastern pasqueflower(Pulsatilla patens)Unlike the mysterious and ethereal-looking lady’s slipper orchid, the pasqueflower is rather straightforward in appearance. It can be found only on a few sites of České středohoří. Botanists prefer to hide these places from the public because many pasqueflowers have already ended up in the garden of an enthusiastic grower who naively believed that it would survive this time.
Eastern pasqueflower is an attractive spring species with large blue to dark violet flowers and a felt-like whitish hairy stem. The leaves begin to appear only when the plant has finished flowering. It is a long-lived plant with a deep root and a strong rhizome. It may also be of interest after flowering, reminiscent of a "furry ball”, which is made up of achenes with long pappus. The pasqueflower is picky - it enjoys west to north-oriented sites. It likes dry to slightly damp grasslands, but also vegetation-free areas in forests and scrub. It thrives in acidic and rocky soil. The southern Russian steppes are its home.
Eastern pasqueflower used to create beautiful bluish carpets, which could be seen from a distance on Holý vrch near Hlinná. Unfortunately, this splendour disappeared along with grazing. It also blooms on Boreč Hill and Tobiášův vrch natural monument.
Like other species of the buttercup family, Eastern pasqueflower is poisonous. It causes dermatitis in contact with the skin, and if you think of tasting it, you will experience vomiting and diarrhoea.
In spite of all the efforts, because of changes in landscape management, the Eastern pasqueflower population is declining. Its sites are overgrown with tall grass and self-seeding bushes. Layers of old grass prevent the seeds from germinating. Moreover, its flowers are an attractive delicacy for pheasants, roe deer, and fallow deer. The species is generally a weak competitor; its populations are decreasing in neighbouring countries as well. Gardeners who carve out and transplant clumps of pasqueflower often kill it because it very rarely survives.
Probably the most important task is to stop the overgrowth of the sites where the pasqueflower occurs. It is necessary to cut out self-seeding woody plants and dig out old grass, which was previously often removed by burning. Exposing the soil helps the seeds to germinate and seedlings to take. Grazing should maintain the favourable status of the site in the future. Gentle hoeing of its clumps also helps.