Donnerstag, 6. Oktober 2011

Field Trip to the City Harbour of Krefeld

About 3 weeks ago, I participated in a little Field Trip to the city harbour of Krefeld, a town in Western Germany. It was a very interesting field trip, because the harbour is located at the river Rhine, which washed a lot of seeds on the shores in this region. Therefore, you can find some very exotic plants in this region. Furthermore, the cobblestones, harbour walls and old railway tracks are an excellent habitat for some interesting plants of special location and ruderal wastelands.

The City harbour of Krefeld

The whole field trip was planed and organized by the “Botanischer Verein Bochum e. v.” (Bochum Association of Botany). I'm not sure, if hot-linking is allowed, so use google to get more informations ;-).

The Town of Krefeld

The Town of Krefeld is located in the state of North Rhine Westphalia in Western Germany. It's part of the so called Lower Rhine region (“Niederrhein”), the last area of the Rhine before it merges into the North Sea.

Rhine Bridge in Krefeld (completed 1936)

The harbour is located in the borough of Linn in the South of Krefeld.


Krefeld was first mentioned in 1105, but the town area had been settled by the Old Romans many centuries before. Here they built a so called castra, a Roman military camp. The village was located on the important “Hochstraße” (High Street) between Cologne and Geldern. After the Third Crusade, the count Otto von Linn built a castle in the region, which exists until today (Linn Castle).

In the Year of 1200, the Lords of House Rode built “Haus Rath”, a toll station on the “Hochstraße”. In the Year of 1373, Emperor Carl the Forth of the Holy Roman Empire gave the settlement of Krefeld its city charter. Krefeld (or Crefeld at this time) was a city now and benefits from better protection against raiders.

This Old Krefeld was destroyed in the Year of 1584 in the “Cologne War” and abandoned for nearly 20 years. In the year of 1594, the countess Walburga sold the land to Moritz of Nassau, Prince of Orangen. As result of this deal, the regions of Krefeld and Moers was declared to neutral counties by Count Albrecht the 7th of the Southern Netherlands. Because of this, Krefeld remained unaffected by the later wars, like the “Thirty Years War” in Germany and the “Eighty Years War” in the Netherlands. So, prosperity could grow over the years and Krefeld became a prosperous city. After the death of William the Third of England in 1702, Krefeld became a part of Prussia.

In the 18th century, a weaving factory were founded by Adolf von Leyen. Von Leyen, also called the “silk baron”, was a religious refugee, who fled into the neutral town to be safe from his pursuers. So, silk weaving became the most important business of Krefeld until the mid-19th century

At the end of the century, Krefeld was occupied by the French Revolutionary Troops under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, who visited the city 1804. In 1814, Krefeld became a part of Prussia again. The city grew very fast until the 19th century.

After World War I, the City was occupied by Belgian Troops as consequence of the Treaty of Versailles. During this time, Krefeld were shaken by riots of the Rhenish separatists, who fought for the return of the region to Germany. In 1929, Krefeld was united with the surrounding towns like Uerdingen or Fischeln, which became boroughs of the city.

Later Krefeld fell under domination of the Nazis. In November 1939, many synagogues and Jewish stores were devastated during the so called “Kristallnacht” (Night of broken glasses). During World War II, the city was the target of an allied bombing raid in 1943. It was later conquered by the allies.

Today, Krefeld is a town in change, but the textile industry is still a important part of the city. There are also many chemical and steel factories..

Geography & Geology

Krefeld is located at the lower Rhine plains. The soil consists mainly of sand and gravel, which were deposited by the river Rhine over 300.000 year ago. During the last Ice Age, the “Karoo” Ice Age, some of this sand deposits were raised to moraines by the glaciers. An example for such a moraine is “Hülser Berg” in the north.

The main type of soil is the cambisol and the para-cambisol; both are very fertile soils and a good base for agriculture. In addition, a lot of loess were deposited in the western areas of the town, which is a very fertile sediment. There are also some stagnosols.


The region has a temperate climate, with an annual rainfall of about 759 Millimetres and an average degree of 10° Celsius (about 50° Fahrenheit)


The area of the field trip is a typical example for ruderal wastelands or an industrial fallow. We have boulders, walls as well as a rocky shore and dykes. All these places are a potential habitat for plants, especially for “specialists”, which can endure the hot temperatures of the stones and the small deepness of the soil. They grow e.g. in cracks, chinks or between the rocks or even on the way..

Species list

Lecanora muralis (Schreb.) Rabenh.
Arenaria serpyllifolia L.
Catalpa agg. Spoc.
Tanacetum vulgare L.
Calystegia sepium (L.) R. Br.
Stachys palustris x sylcatica L.
Festuca nigrescens Lam.
Acer saccharinum L.
Acer platanoides L.
Acer campestre L.
Rumex salicifolius var. triangulivalvis (Danser) Hickman
Bunias orientalis L.
Solanum nigrum L.
Scrophularia umbrosa Dumort.
Scrophularia nodosa L.
Campanula rotundifolia L.
Impatiens glandulifera Roye
Galium agg.
Medicago lupulina L.
Ricinus communis L.
Populus alba L.
Poa compressa L.
Betula pubescens Ehrh.
Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle
Cymbalaria muralis Gaertn., Mey. Et Scherb
Betula pendula Roth.
Eupatorium cannabinum L.
Cornus sanguinea L.
Wisteria agg.
Diplotaxis tenuifolia (L.) DC.
Rubus laciniatus Willd.
Humulus lupulus L.
Rumex scutatus L.
Prunus malaheb L.
Ulmus minor Mill.
Vitis vinifera ssp. Sylvestris (C. C. Gmel) Hegi
Sorbus intermedia (Erh.) Pers.
Laburnum anagryoides Medik.
Sedum sexangulare L.
Berteroa incana (L.) DC.
Buddleja davidii Franch.
Medicago x varia Martyn
Carduus acanthoides L.
Echium vulgare L.
Origanum vulgare L.
Ficus carica L.
Oxalis fontana L.
Conyza summatrensis (Retz.) E. Walker
Celtis australis L.
Trisetum flavescens (L.) P. Beauv
Lepidium latifolium L.
Sedum samentosum Bunge.
Erigeron anuus (L.) Pers.
Cardamine impatiens L.


Lecanora muralis (Schreb.) Rabenh
Carduus acanthoides L. (welted thistle)
Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle - Tree of Heaven

Berteroa incana (L.) DC. - Hoary Allysum
Campanula rotudifolia L. - harebell
Conyza sumatrensis (Retz. ) E. Walker - white horsweed, fleabane

Cymbalaria muralis Gaertn., Mey. Et Scherb - Kenilworth Ivy

Echium vulgare L. - Viper's bugloss or Blueweed

Eupatorium cannabinum L.

Ficus carica L. - common fig

Humulus lupulus L. - common hop

Impatiens glandulifera Royle - Himalayan balsam

Origanum vulgare L. - oregano

Oxalis fontana Bung

 Prunus mahaleb L. - Mahleb, Mahaleb Cherry, Rock Cherry

Riccinuns communis L. - castor oil plant

Rubus laciniatus Willd. - Cutleaf Evergreen Blackberry

Rumex salicifolius var. triangulivalvis (Danser) Hickman - willow sorrel

Rumex scutatus L.  - shield sorrel
 Scrophularia umbrosa Dumont - green figwort

 Solanum nigrum L. - black nightshade
 Stachys palustris x sylvatica

Ulmus minor Mill. - field elm

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