Dwarf shrub dominated mountain heath
Unique in German upland regions: the summit of the Brocken is treeless by nature
No tree can withstand the storms of the summit area above 1,100 m. Further above, a mountain heath with many dwarf shrubs and grasses dominates. You can hear birds singing, e.g. ring ouzel (Turdus torquatus), tree pipit (Anthus trivialis) or black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros).
Amidst blocks of granite, plants of northern regions grow on the summit of the Brocken. Here they found one of their last refuges after the last ice age. These "northern plants" and other plants that are rare in Germany, such as Bigelow's sedge (Carex bigelowii), alpine clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum) and sheathed sedge (Carex vaginata), as well as various moss and lichen species, have contributed to the fact that the Harz is considered as a piece of Scandinavian mountains right in the heart of Germany. Only one alpine anemone, also called "Brocken anemone" (Pulsatilla alpina ssp. alba), originates from the southeast.
Botanists have always been interested in this unique vegetation. Nowadays Brocken Garden, founded in 1890, contains 1,500 plants originating from high mountains all over the world.