The Estany de Sils is an area of remarkable scenic interest and extremely unique within a predominantly Mediterranean environment.
In the current vegetal landscape dominates the mixed riparian wooded areas with some clearings of alders, as well as notable fragments of waterlogged vegetation that occupy the floodplains, such as watercress, reedbeds, bulrushes, communities of duckweeds and grasslands of Cyperaceae and Juncaceae.
The set of aquatic or hygrophilous plant communities constitute an important vestige of the primitive vegetation that occupied these lagoon lands. It is remarkable the presence of the martagon lily, the snowdrop and the wood anemone.
In some cases these communities are quite unique and are not represented in other wetlands in Catalonia. It is necessary to mention, however, the special fragility of these natural systems, vulnerable to any disturbing action of the environment.
Categories of threat*
*The threat category is indicated at the catalan level or, if it is not defined, at the spanish level.
Greater pond sedge
In Sils it is called "balcalló" to the species of herbaceous plants of Carex that grow in flooded places forming tall grasslands (more than one meter), denses and quite impenetrable. These grasslands constitute one of the most characteristic landscapes of the wetlands of Sils, especially for the great extension they occupy. In summer, the greater pond sedge reaches its maximum height, showing its brown spikes. Among the grasslands, frogs and the Mediterranean tree frog seek for freshness and the young chicks of aquatic birds such as the water rail or the common moorhen hide.
The common reed grows in bogged places or with easily accessible groundwater. In Sils it occupies a good extension near the irrigating channels and forms spots in the middle of the greater pond sedge grasslands. In winter it shows its characteristic dry panicle, full of seeds that are used by many birds that live or that make the nest there exclusively and that, in general, have become very rare: the western marsh harrier or the very rare great bittern – strange bird that feeds on European eels and that at night makes a bellow similar to the ox, origin of many legends - they could not live without the presence of extensive reeds.
Least Concern /Protected in Catalonia*
The snowdrop is a delicate and little-known plant that grows in particularly shady and slightly cold places. Its presence in Sils and in the rest of the Selva center has to be attributed, as in other similar species, to humidity and thermal inversion. It blooms very early (sometimes at the end of January) and its flowers can grow on snow in areas where it is common. It likes deciduous forests and, in particular, alders and wet oak trees. Although in the plains the original forest has often disappeared, its presence usually indicates that, where it lives, alders or oaks would be the dominant trees.
*Included in the Catalogue of Threatened Flora of Catalonia as a Species of Strictly Protected Flora
The yellow iris is one of the most characteristic plants of freshwater wetlands. In Sils we find it, above all, near irrigating channels and canals and its beautiful yellow flowers stain the landscape between the months of April and May.
In the middle of the greater pond sedge grasses blooms in the months of June and July the splendid purple loosestrife. Its purple and spike-shaped flowers stand out from the greenery of the grasslands and give some color to the summer monochrome of the Estany landscape.