Friday, December 7, 2012

Flora Resources for Iceland

Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland by Hörður Kristinsson (back and front)
Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland by Hörður Kristinsson - backFlowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland by Hörður Kristinsson - front
We picked up both of these two flora resources at the Gullfoss Visitor center (after a delicious bowl of lamb soup). One is a book and one is a map.

The first resource is the book Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland by Hörður Kristinsson. The book uses a color key system where plants are divided into eight color groups. You choose a group by noting the color of the flower of the plant and then leaf (!) through the group to find an exact match. Several groups (white, yellow and other colors) are further subdivided according the size and shape of their flowers. The author acknowledges that the key is designed to have the most benefit to non-plant experts. The only problem is that in winter it was hard to determine the flower color!

The second resource is a Botanical Map is a map that shows 78 flowering plants, their distribution, and names in three languages. The map folds out like a road map, but it’s not what you expect as one big map of the country. Rather it contains a 6 by 8 grid on one side and a 6 x 5 grid on the other where each square in the grid contains information about one plant including a color drawing, the binomial name, the common name in Icelandic, English, and German, the flowering month, habitat, and distribution of the plant.

Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to really exercise either of these resources given that all plants were out of bloom and we had such a limited time to spend hunting for plants. (When there is so little light at this time of the year, we were more interested in getting from site to site and not spending much time hunting for plants.) Given these limitations, it was surprising how many plants we did see and were able to identify.

Update: We went back in 2015 and were able to "exercise" these resources. Please see Selected Plants from Our Iceland Trip.

Both of these plant resources can be purchased on Shop Icelandic last time we checked so you don’t even have to go Iceland to get them!

Some other resources we used to help us prepare this post include:
Speaking of plants, the glow of a greenhouse (usually growing cucumbers or tomatoes were told) is a site we saw a few times. Something like 80% of Iceland’s energy is geothermal and it makes sense to heat and light the greenhouses to keep the vegetables happy in winter.
 
Iceland Botanical Map
Iceland Botanical Map Iceland Botanical Map 
Iceland Botanical Map Sample Map Section for Dwarf Birch (Betula nana).
Iceland Botanical Map Sample Map Section for Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)Iceland Botanical Map Sample Map Section for Dwarf Birch (Betula nana)
Greenhouse in Reykholt, Iceland Growing Cucumbers

Woolly Fringe Moss (Racomitrium lanuginosum) with Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) in Kerið Volcano Crater

Alpine Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla alpina) – likely - in Kerið Volcano Crater
 
Wild Thyme (Thymus praecox subsp. articus) in Kerið Volcano CraterWild Thyme (Thymus praecox subsp. articus) in Kerið Volcano Crater Layers in Þingvellir (Thingvellir Park): sod on a wall, Tea-Leaved Willow (Salix pylicifolia) in orange browns, and Woolly Fringe Moss in the background.Layers in Þingvellir (Thingvellir Park): sod on a wall, Tea-Leaved Willow (Salix pylicifolia) in orange browns, and Woolly Fringe Moss in the background.






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