There is always a lot of discussion about the mysterious mixture of herbs to be found on Alpine pastures. Indeed, advertising of local cheeses makes this a big point. People in America have wondered for years what these herbs might be.
As the elevation of the grassland increases, the mixture of plants that make up the native grasses also increases. Certain plants thrive at higher altitudes, while others have a hard time growing. Near or above the treeline in the Alps, the pasture land has a very rich collection of herbs growing alongside the grass, which is itself of a much different character than the grass lower in the valleys.
There are a few familiar plants here, such as wild carrot (which is one of the most desired herbs, and lends a rich flavor to the milk) and lavender, but there are many more that do not grow on this continent, and cannot grow in most of our ecosystems in North America.
Here are a few pictures from Alpine pastures showing the mixture of herbs that grow in the grasses, there are a few closeups and a few wide shots. This rich herbal mix gives the whole land a wonderful aroma, and also makes the milk very rich and flavorful, resulting in a high-flavor cheese. It is also far more nutritious than plane grass: the herbs provide a great deal of vitamins and minerals to the cattle, making the alpine pastures a very healthy environment for cows strong enough to survive the rough terrain and temperature swings.
I am no botanist, so I can't tell you the names of all of the plants pictured. But in addition to those shown, 2 common plants that also contribute to the milk are wild strawberries and blueberries.