The 650 species of plants that can be seen on the site (16 of which are protected at the European, national, or regional level) show the success of the ecological restoration by the FRAPNA Loire on these former gravel pits.


There, you will see plants typical of wetlands, forests, gravel zones, dry and open areas.


This vegetation changes constantly due to floods, the shifting river bed, invasive species, the closing-in of open areas, etc. Our scientists monitor the site regularly.


Here below, some of the plants that make the richness of the Ecopole du Forez.


Black alderWhite willow
Aulne glutineuxSaule blanc
The young leaves stick to your fingers. It thrives in environments with a high degree of humidity and is one of the first trees to grow on the banks and islets that our staff mow every year.This tree contains salicylic acid (one of the ingredients of aspirin). Along with the black poplar, the white willow is part of the "Forest Galleries" which are protected in Europe.

Common TeaselYellow iris
Cardère sauvage ou cabaret des oiseauxIris faux-acore
The water at the base of the leaves serves as a drinking trough for insects and birds. Its purple flowers attract butterflies until autumn, and the seeds feed Goldfinches in winter.At the edge of our pond, you will admire these vibrant yellow flowers, which became the emblem of the French kings: "Fleur de Louys" became "Fleur de Lys".

BlueweedEuropean spindle
From May to July, the little forked tongues poking out from these blue flowers are quite harmless.In autumn, the hedges and undergrowth of the Ecopole display vibrant pink and orange fruits. The charcoal made from this plant is highly appreciated by illustrators, as it does not leave marks on fingers.

Evening primroseCommon hop
Fleur d'onagreHoublon
The sweet-scented flowers open in less than a minute. This plant stockpiles reserves during the first year in order to bloom the second year. Its oil is used in cosmetics.The fruits of this wetland forest liana look like green lanterns. Theyr are used to flavour beer.

White water lilyReed
Nénuphar blancRoselière
Already existing in the Plaine du Forez, water lilies have been transplanted to the Ecopole to encourage whiskered terns to nest on the leaves and dragonflies to lay their eggs.Reed-beds, increasingly rare, are essential for a lot of animals: insects breed on the them; fish use them for spawning. Amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals take refuge and eat there. They also use the reeds for construction.

utriculaireLimoselle aquatique
Ecopole naturalists watch this rare plant closely. Under water, the plant has small bags to capture small preys, whereas beautiful yellow flowers blossom above the water.Rediscovered on the site in 1997, this plant had not been seen in the department for a hundred year. You can find it in mud flats and sandy areas beside the water.

Japanese knotweedFloating primrose-willow
renouée du JaponJussie
This invasive plant colonizes the banks of the Loire and the forest alongside. It's difficult to root it out: this plant is extremely resistant, vigorous and its extensive roots can reach up to 10 meters in length!It has been invading the Ecopole du Forez since 2003 and is regularly removed to stop the progression and dispersal of this species.