High-mountain Shrub Formations

Over the top range of distribution of the arboreal vegetation, subalpine bush formations may be found. Their composition varies according to sunlight exposure, soil humidity, and the nature of the rocks. The calcareous-dolomitic cliffs and detrital cones are colonized by Mugo Pines (Pinus mugo), which may form thick and impenetrable scrubs (Monti del Sole, Piani Eterni, Ramezza). In Mugo Pine formations, Rhododendron hirsutum and the Alpine Clematis (Clematis alpina) may frequently be found. However, Mugo Pine formations are also common in low altitude rocky environments. On the northern slopes covered with snow for long periods, there are shrub formations of Green Alder (Alnus viridis), where high-grass plants such as Adenostyles alliariae, the Alpine Blue-sow-thistle (Cicerbita alpina), aconites, and ferns are abundant.
Other kinds of shrub formations, less extended and temporary, are willow groves (Salix appendiculata, S. glabra, S. waldsteiniana) and rhododendron formations (Rhododendron hirsutum or R. ferrugineum). Various species of animals find shelter in these habitats: among them, Chamois, Black Grouse, Ring Ouzel, and Crested Tit.