Dry grassland (vegri)
Particularly prevalent in the southern part of the Euganean Hills, on most of the chalky hillsides between Arquà Petrarca, Valle San Giorgio and Baone, these meadows are what remain of abandoned farmland and nutrient-poor pastures and are known as vegri
. Such areas are constantly reverting to their original woodland state and feature herbaceous plants that prefer dry areas, particularly grasses and prickly or leguminous composites, while areas that have been left fallow for longer and that sometimes have very dry soil are home to scattered bushes that are typically tough, pioneer species, such as hawthorn, blackthorn, dog rose, juniper, viburnum and broom, plants that make way for the appearance of white oak, European hop hornbeams and South European flowering ash trees.
There are a handful of valuable sites where you'll come across Paduan rue (Haplophyllum patavinum), the most important plant species in the Euganean Hills. There are over 20 species of wild orchids with striking, bizarre shapes, including the villosum orchid, bee orchids, lady orchids, monkey orchids, the Adriatic lizard orchid, fragrant orchids and violet limodores.
Rue of Padua (Haplophyllum patavinum L. G. Don fil.)
(photo by PR Colli Euganei)