National Nature Reserves

(Czech: Národní přírodní rezervace) Smaller areas of outstanding natural value, where the natural relief and typical geological structure supports ecosystems that are important and unique in the national or international context.

Polanská Niva National Nature Reserve

The most valuable part of the Poodří PLA is the naturally meandering course of the Odra River and its tributary the Ondřejnice between Proskovice and Polanka; this area forms the Polanská Niva (meaning ‘Polanka floodplain’) National Nature Reserve. The steep earth banks of the unregulated river provide a habitat for a range of animal species. The river influences the character of the extensive riparian forest which is still known as the ‘Blücher Forest’ after a prominent aristocratic family that used to own the land. The remnants of a medieval pond system offer good conditions for protected plant species, and the extensive reed beds provide an ideal location for amphibian reproduction and a nesting site for rare bird species.

Water caltrop (Trapa natans) – Ostrava City Museum photographic archive

The water caltrop has been present in the territory of today’s Czech Republic since the last Ice Age. This annual aquatic plant has a very long stem (up to 2 metres) submerged and rooted in the muddy bottom of ponds; the leaves float on the surface. The fruits are nuts with the shape of bull’s horns; each fruit contains an edible seed, which formed an important part of our ancestors’ diet.

Currently the water caltrop is classified as a critically endangered species in the Czech Republic, and it is legally protected as such.

Carpathian toothwort (Dentaria glandulosa) – Ostrava City Museum photographic archive

A typical plant in the beech/conifer forests of the Beskydy Mountains, it can also be seen in the riparian forests along the Odra River, where it flowers from April to May. North and North-East Moravia represent the westernmost boundary of this Carpathian species. The Carpathian toothwort is currently an endangered species in the Czech Republic.