Monday, July 13, 2015

Selected Plants from Our Iceland Trip

Overview

In this post we discuss some of the plants we saw on a trip to Iceland. In Flora Resources for Iceland from our 2012 trip, we list a few resources for discovering plants. In this post, we repeat the information and add to it.

Our 2012 Thanksgiving in Iceland: Two Days in the Golden Circle and Two Days in Reykavik trip was short, just a long weekend really. Our 2015 trip was 12 days long and we got a better sampling of plants, especially because it was summer, we hiked more, and drove around the island (counter-clockwise) seeing more diverse landscapes.

Speaking of plants, there are two botanical gardens that we are aware of: one in Akureyri, which we visited, and one in Reykjavik, which we didn’t visit. We were impressed by the one in Akureyri considering the size of the town is less than 20,000. And, there is a nice café there.
In this post, we discuss the plants we could confirm with resources shown in the section below. Most, if not all the plants we saw, were easy to observe. Keep in mind we were visiting in early July. Many told us that there was a late winter, and spring and summer were delayed. This had some impact on the plants we saw, but not that much.

Most surprising to us was the Lupinus nootkatensis, commonly called in English just lupin, Alaskan lupin, or purple nootka. On our 2012 trip -- in the dark days of mid-winter -- we had a limited sense of ground covers (besides mosses and lichens). But this time, as we left the airport and hit the outskirts of Reykjavik, we were hit full on by waves of purple lupin blossoms. More or less we chased the waves of purple around the island, though it seemed particular striking in the south coast.
The owner of a B&B we stayed at described it as controversial, introduced in the 1940s to combat erosion (which it is), but now causing concern because it is spreading quickly. Purple menance or miracle erosion plant? Either way, it was quite spectacular to look at.

Identification Resources for Plants of Iceland

Here’s a list of resources we used for helping to identify plants we photographed. The Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland is the de-facto, easy-to-use, and easily-accessible reference on the subject.

Sites

Books and Maps

You can find all three of these resources in many places around Iceland, like in the N1 Gas Stations.

  • Medicinal Plants of Iceland: Collection, Preparation and Uses by Arnbjörg Linda Jóhannsdóttir
  • Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland by Hörður Kristinsson
  • Plöntukort – Botanical Map – A big friendly way to discover the most common plants. Each entry has a quick key of when the plant blooms, where it typically grows, and in what part of the country.
Flower Plants and Ferns of Iceland Front and Back Cover; Medicinal Plants of Iceland Front, Back Cover and Sample Page
Flower Plants and Ferns of IcelandFlower Plants and Ferns of IcelandMedicinal Plants of IcelandMedicinal Plants of Iceland
Iceland Plöntukort – Botanical Map Front and Back Cover and Sample Entries
Iceland Plöntukort – Botanical Map Iceland Plöntukort – Botanical Map Iceland Plöntukort – Botanical Map Iceland Plöntukort – Botanical Map

Plant List

The numbers after each item in the list refers to the reference number in Flowering Plants and Ferns of Iceland.
[Asteraceae] Daisy Family
  Taraxacum spp. - Dandelion (#222)
[Apiaceae] – Carrot Family
  Angelica archangelica – Wild Angelica (#149)
  Myrrhis oderata – Sweet Cicely (#152)
[Betulaceae] – Birch Family
  Betula nana – Dwarf Birch (#304)
[Brassicaceae] – Mustard Family
  Cardamine pratensis – Cuckoo Flower (#78)
[Caryophyllaceae] Pink Family
  Honckenya peploides – Sea Sandwort (#125)
  Lychnis alpina (Viscaria alpina) – Alpine Catchfly (#51)
  Silene acaulis – Moss Campion (#76)
  Silene dioica – Red Campion (#52)
  Silene uniflora – Sea Campion (#100)
[Crassulaceae] – Stonecrop Family
  Rhodiola rosea – Roseroot (#213)
[Cyperaceae] – Sedge Family
  Eriophorum angustifolium – Common Cottongrass (#429)
  Eriophorum scheuchzeri – Scheuchzer’s Cottongrass (#395)
[Ericaceae] Heather Family
  Kalmia procumbens or Loiseleuria procumbens – Trailing Azalea (#68)
  Vaccinium ugliginosum – Bog Bilberry (#84)
[Fabaceae] Pea Family
  Lupinus nootkatensis – Nootka Lupin (#4)
  Vicia sepium – Bush Vetch (#5)
[Geraniaceae] Geranium Family
  Geranium sylvaticum – Wood Crane’s Bill (#34)
[Lamiaceae] Mint Family
  Lamium album – White Dead-Nettle (#186)
  Thymus praecox – Wild Thyme (#49)
[Lentibulariaceae] – Bladderwort Family
  Pinguicula vulgaris – Common Butterwort (#28)
[Orchidaceae]
  Coeloglossum viride - Frog Orchid (#323)
  Dactylorhiza maculata – Heath Spotted Orchid (#42)
  Platanthera hyperborea – Northern Green Orchid (#242)
  Pseudorchis albida – Small White Orchid (#243)
[Orobanchaceae] Broomrape Family
  Bartsia alpina – Alpine Bartsia (#21)
  Rhinanthus minor – Yellow Rattle (#219)
[Plubaginaceae] Plumbago Family
  Armeria maritima – Sea Thrift (#75)
[Polygonaceae] Buckwheat Family
  Rheum rhabarbarum – Rhubarb
[Ranunculaceae] Buttercup Family
  Caltha palustris – Marsh Marigold (#190)
  Ranunculus acris – Meadow Buttercup (#196)
  Ranunculus glacialis – Glacier Buttercup (#91)
[Rosaceae] Rose Family
  Alchemilla alpina – Alpine Lady’s-Mantle (#234)
  Alchemilla vulgaris – Lady’s-Mantle
  Dryas octopetala – Mountain Avens (#96)
  Geum rivale – Water Avens (#71)
  Argentina anserina (formerly Potentilla anserina) – Silverweed (#194)
  Sorbus aucuparia – Rowan (#147)
[Rubiaceae] Coffee Family
  Galium normanii - Slender Bedstraw (#175)
  Galium verum – Lady’s Bedstraw (#214)
[Salicaceae] Willow Family
  Salix artica – Artic Willow (#307)
  Salix herbaceae – Dwarf Willow (#306)
  Salix lanata – Woolly Willow (#308)
[Saxifragaceae]
  Saxifraga rosacea – Irish Saxifrage

The Images

Locations provided are approximate. For most of the photos we have exact geo-coordinates. If you are interested, post a comment.

[Asteraceae] Daisy Family

Taraxacum
spp. - Dandelion (#222) - It's almost embarrassing to include this, but it is quite common in Iceland. And, my sense is that it isn't shunned as a plant like it is elsewhere. This photo was taken at Namafjall (Hverir), Northeast, Iceland.
Taraxacum spp. - Dandelion (#222)

[Apiaceae] – Carrot Family


Angelica archangelica – Wild Angelica (#149) - This is quite common around towns. As you can see, it is an insect magnet. The left photo was taken at Seljalandsfoss, South, Iceland. The right photo was taken on the border of the west end of the black beach of Vik, South, Iceland.
Angelica archangelica – Wild Angelica (#149)Angelica archangelica – Wild Angelica (#149)

Myrrhis oderata – Sweet Cicely (#152) - Common around settlements and in towns. The right photo (in front of graffiti) was taken in Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland.  The right photo was taken in Akureyri, Northeast, Iceland.
Myrrhis oderata – Sweet Cicely (#152)Myrrhis oderata – Sweet Cicely (#152)

[Betulaceae] – Birch Family


Betula nana – Dwarf Birch (#304). This photo was taken on a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.
Betula nana – Dwarf Birch (#304)

[Brassicaceae] – Mustard Family

Cardamine pratensis – Cuckoo Flower (#78). The left photo was taken on a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland. The center photo was taken near Seljalandsfoss, South, Iceland. The right photo was taken at Þakgil (Thakgil) Campsite.
Cardamine pratensis – Cuckoo Flower (#78)Cardamine pratensis – Cuckoo Flower (#78)Cardamine pratensis – Cuckoo Flower (#78)

[Caryophyllaceae] Pink Family


Honckenya peploides – Sea Sandwort (#125). The left photo was taken at Reynisfjara. The right photo was taken on the edge of the black sand beach in Vik, South, Iceland.
Honckenya peploides – Sea Sandwort (#125)

Lychnis alpina (Viscaria alpina) – Alpine Catchfly (#51). We stopped along the ring road (route 1) somewhere west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South, Iceland to look at the incredible lava and moss landscape. Found this catchfly there.
Lychnis alpina (Viscaria alpina) – Alpine Catchfly (#51)

Silene acaulis – Moss Campion (#76)
Silene acaulis – Moss Campion (#76)Silene acaulis – Moss Campion (#76)Silene acaulis – Moss Campion (#76)

Silene dioica – Red Campion (#52). This photo was taken as we left the trailhead of a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.
Silene dioica – Red Campion (#52)

Silene uniflora – Sea Campion (#100). The photo on the right was taken on the edge of a dried up lagoon bed near the Gígjökull glacier tongue.
Silene uniflora – Sea Campion (#100) Silene uniflora – Sea Campion (#100)

[Crassulaceae] – Stonecrop Family

Rhodiola rosea – Roseroot (#213). Both photos were taken outside of our apartment in Vik, South, Iceland. However, we would see this succulent in many locations, usually on cliffs.
Rhodiola rosea – Roseroot (#213)

[Cyperaceae] – Sedge Family

Left: Eriophorum angustifolium – Common Cottongrass (#429). The left photo was taken near Seljalandsfoss, South, Iceland.
Right: Eriophorum scheuchzeri – Scheuchzer’s Cottongrass (#395). This right was taken inside the Laufás Museum, Northeast, Iceland.
Eriophorum angustifolium – Common Cottongrass (#429) Eriophorum scheuchzeri – Scheuchzer’s Cottongrass (#395)

[Ericaceae] Heather Family

Kalmia procumbens or Loiseleuria procumbens – Trailing Azalea (#68). Both photos were taken on a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.
Kalmia procumbens or Loiseleuria procumbens – Trailing Azalea (#68)Kalmia procumbens or Loiseleuria procumbens – Trailing Azalea (#68)

Vaccinium ugliginosum – Bog Bilberry (#84). The photo was taken at the start of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.
Vaccinium ugliginosum – Bog Bilberry (#84)

[Fabaceae] Pea Family

Lupinus nootkatensis
– Nootka Lupin (#4).  The left photo shows the black sand of a Vik beach as a backdrop for the purple lupin. The left and center photos were taken in Vik, South, Iceland. The right photo was taken as we drove toward Höfn. The Vatnajökull glacier is in the background.
Lupinus nootkatensis – Nootka Lupin (#4)Lupinus nootkatensis – Nootka Lupin (#4)Lupinus nootkatensis – Nootka Lupin (#4)

Vicia sepium
– Bush Vetch (#5). This photo was taken around the Perlan, Reykjavík, Iceland.
Vicia sepium – Bush Vetch (#5)

[Geraniaceae] Geranium Family

Geranium sylvaticum
– Wood Crane’s Bill (#34)
Geranium sylvaticum – Wood Crane’s Bill (#34)Geranium sylvaticum – Wood Crane’s Bill (#34)

[Lamiaceae] Mint Family

Lamium album – White Dead-Nettle (#186). The first photo was taken at Laufás Museum, Northeast, Iceland. The right photo was taken in a garden in Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland.
Lamium album – White Dead-Nettle (#186)Lamium album – White Dead-Nettle (#186)

Thymus praecox – Wild Thyme (#49)
Thymus praecox – Wild Thyme (#49)Thymus praecox – Wild Thyme (#49)

[Lentibulariaceae] – Bladderwort Family

Pinguicula vulgaris – Common Butterwort (#28)
Pinguicula vulgaris – Common Butterwort (#28)Pinguicula vulgaris – Common Butterwort (#28)

[Orchidaceae] Orchid Family

Coeloglossum viride - Frog Orchid (#323)


Dactylorhiza maculata – Heath Spotted Orchid (#42). All three photos were taken at the start of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.


Platanthera hyperborea – Northern Green Orchid (#242). Both photos were taken during a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.


Pseudorchis albida
– Small White Orchid (#243). Both photos were taken at the start of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.


[Orobanchaceae] Broomrape Family

Bartsia alpina – Alpine Bartsia (#21). The right photo is at the start of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.


Rhinanthus minor – Yellow Rattle (#219). These photos were taken on the border of the black beach of Vik (location).


[Plubaginaceae] Plumbago Family

Armeria maritima – Sea Thrift (#75). The left photo was taken toward the end of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.


[Polygonaceae] Buckwheat Family

Rheum rhabarbarum – Rhubarb. The left photo was taken in Akureyri, Northeast, Iceland. The right photo was taken at a AirBnB place we stayed at west of Vik, South, Iceland.


[Ranunculaceae] Buttercup Family

Caltha palustris – Marsh Marigold (#190). Both photos were taken at Seljalandsfoss, South, Iceland.


Ranunculus acris
– Meadow Buttercup (#196). The \photo was taken at Seljalandsfoss, South, Iceland.


Ranunculus glacialis
– Glacier Buttercup (#91).  The left photo was taken on a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.


[Rosaceae] Rose Family

Alchemilla alpina – Alpine Lady’s-Mantle (#234). The right photo was taken at the edge of the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon, East, Iceland.


Dryas octopetala
– Mountain Avens (#96). This is the national flower of Iceland


Geum rivale
– Water Avens (#71). All three photos were taken during a hike to Súlur, Northeast, Iceland.


Argentina anserina
(formerly Potentilla anserina) – Silverweed (#194)


Sorbus aucuparia – Rowan (#147). The left photo was taken in Akureyri, Northeast, Iceland.


[Rubiaceae] Coffee Family

Galium normanii - Slender Bedstraw (#175)


Galium verum
– Lady’s Bedstraw (#214)


[Salicaceae] Willow Family

Salix artica – Artic Willow (#307)


Salix herbaceae
– Dwarf Willow (#306)


Salix lanata
– Woolly Willow (#308). The left photo was taken when we stopped along the ring road (route 1) somewhere west of Kirkjubæjarklaustur, South, Iceland to look at the incredible lava and moss landscape. The middle photo was taken on the edge of a dried up lagoon bed near the Gígjökull glacier tongue. The right photo was taken at the start of our Fimmvörðuháls Pass, Þórsmörk to Skógarfoss Hike.


[Saxifragaceae]

Saxifraga rosacea – Irish Saxifrage. This little guy was on a short climb to look down on the waterfall Gljúfrafoss, South, Iceland.

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