Southern Alpine Tulip
The Southern Alpine Tulip (Tulipa australis – Fam. Liliaceae) is growing on dry to humid, moderate fertile mountain meadows and pastures as well as on humid rock ledges. The plant gets 8 – 50 cm high and opens from May to June the colored flowers with six pointed, yellow petals with red lines outside.
In Switzerland the distribution of the tulip is restricted to the Upper Valais between the mountain and the subalpine level (1045 – 2080 m a.s.l.). In the World Heritage Region it can be found between Naters and Blatten, near Mund, near Gebidem reservoir and in the Aletsch Forest. Investigations undertaken end of the 1990ties showed a strong decrease of the rare and protected plant species. The reasons may be the intensifying of land use, especially increased use of fertilizer, repeated cutting and large scale spraying of water.
The measures to enhance the Southern Alpine Tulip populations have been elaborated jointly with local farmers and biologists. In 2014, the local biologist Ralph Imstepf mapped the distribution of the tulip in the World Heritage Region, noted threats and recommended measures for its protection. The field studies were the basis for land use agreements, signed for two restoration areas in 2014 in the framework of the “Networking Project Naters”. This was a crucial step towards the long term protection of the sites.
Furthermore awareness raising activities focused on local people and guests were launched in order to get support and understanding for the protection of the tulip.