The Karst Educational Trail also leads past the village of Mladica, where Mladičko brezje is located. As we walk from the plague column towards the extensive pastures, the slopes of Mladičko brezje appear in front of us.

 

Even before we enter this grove, we are greeted by several groups of gentle birches. Once upon a time, their undergrowth was dominated by the eagle fern, which farmers regularly mowed and used as livestock litter. They also skimmed the leaves and thinned the trees so bracken could grow as much as possible. Such “steljniki” bracken areas were a regional specialty of Bela krajina.

 

Today, farmers are no longer engaged in mowing the bracken, so it is overgrown. Also in the vicinity of Mladica, a bracken forest is created and we can see Scots pine, alder buckthorn and various shrubs in there, besides the birch.

 

Let us suggest that you can still admire the beautifully preserved “steljniki” bracken areas in the vicinity of the villages of Drašiči, Bojanci, Griblje, Marindol and Žuniči. In the Semič Museum House, you can explore in detail the surprising diversity of animal and plant species that live in bracken areas. 

Birch has a special mythological meaning and symbolically represents a new beginning. Do you know Green George – a young man dressed in birch branches? The George rituals in Bela krajina are still alive today. They bring spring renewal and fertility, and encourage people to socialise and awaken the joy of life in them. Just the way we feel when we look at white birches!

Location

Foto: Uroš Novina