Maastricht, the birthplace of the Euro, is the southernmost city in The Netherlands. Thanks to its favourable position in the transition from a hilly loess and limestone area to a river valley, the city supports a rich flora and fauna. The earliest botanical records are from excavations of Neolithic and Iron Age sites in which the remains of cereals and weed species were found. A greater variety of food plants were found in the excavations of Roman sites. In recent times, 721 vascular plants (17% are neophytes) have been recorded in the city, of which 461 were recorded in the central area and 260 only in the outskirts. The St. Pietersberg (a limestone hill) and three man-made habitats (the Medieval walls, the fortifications and the limestone revetments of the river Jeker) are of special botanical interest. The old walls are the most botanically valuable urban habitat in the city, especially for vascular species and lichens, whilst the fortifications are a remarkable element in terms of bryophytes and grassland species. A substantial amount of effort is taken to preserve the ecological value of the old walls and fortifications and to enlarge the area of the flowering plants, which also encourage bees and butterflies
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