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Author Topic: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!  (Read 6660 times)

IRG ED Team

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IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« on: January 24, 2013, 11:49:54 AM »
IRG 37 for January 2013 welcomes the start of the spring snowdrop season  in Europe with a report on some galanthus  discovered in Belgium.
Valentin Wijnen is a Belgian galanthophile, 52 years old. He has been  a science teacher for over 30 years now,  at a secondary school in his hometown of Hoeselt.  He is married to Melanie Schilperoord and has one son, Senne (5 years old).
His 'white fever' started early. At only 7 or 8 years old, Valentin dug out a small clump of ordinary Galanthus nivalis in a nearby English-style park. Around 20 years  ago his love for snowdrops became an addiction (dixit VW). Now his collection numbers over 500 different named snowdrops . Many (collected, selected or sown) Galanthus (especially nivalis var. 'Scharlockii' ) in his garden 'Grakes Heredij' aren't named, though he thinks some of them are most promising !

Valentin with some Galanthus elwesii


Taking us ‘out and about’ to the Swedish region of Abisko is Susann Nilsson who shows the natural habitat of many fine plants that are treasured by many of us in our gardens.  Extra photos and notes from Susann on the plants of the area will be posted in this thread.....  8)

Susann Nilsson,  photo by Olga Bondareva

Ed.: Susann has written before for the IRG -  see http://www.srgc.org.uk/logs/logdir/2010Dec261293381708IRG_12_December.pdf   and recently began an excellent Pulsatilla thread in the Forum : http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=9988.0
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 12:37:35 PM by IRG ED Team »

IRG ED Team

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 11:51:21 AM »
These posts form an addendum to Susann Nilsson's article in IRG37 of January 2013 where she describes a trip to the Abisko region in the mountains of northern Sweden, in late July last year.




 Plant hunting in the Scandinavian Mountains -  Susann Nilsson
 ……Spring and early summer had been unusually rainy and cold; this led to a delay in flowering which gave us the opportunity to experience an enormous amount of flowers during the last half of July. Unfortunately the persistent rain meant that cameras mostly remained packed in waterproof bags and I had to make do with a small cheap pocket camera. Many pictures of rare species were therefore poor and not good enough for publication.
The total number of species in the Swedish mountains is about 700, of which 270 do not occur in the lowlands. Most of the plants in the northern Scandinavian Mountains have a circumboreal distribution. Others are only found here or in the Alps in central Europe but usually at much higher altitudes.

IRG ED Team

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 11:59:40 AM »
On this trip we recorded well over 200 species. Of course we both missed and forgot to take note of a number of spotted species, especially among the grasses and sedges which were everywhere at lower altitudes.
 The magnificent Carex atrata was for example in full bloom. It was interesting to notice that many of the locations where it grew were very dry. (At home the species grows in the pond, where it stands year round with water up to its knees). At about 500m it was accompanied by the well muffled up Trisetum striata, a grass I had never before appreciated.  We also had the opportunity to study some viviparous species; the grasses Festuca vivipara, Poa alpina subsp. vivipara and also Bistorta vivipara. As you might already know, on a viviparous plant the seeds germinate while they are still attached to the parent plant. They can also have rooted seedlings remaining attached.

The meadows of tall herbs at 400-450m offered quite a lot of ferns. Most beautiful of all was the small tiny Botrychium lunaria, which despite being very small is a real survivor, due to its deeply hidden rootstocks and buds. Botrychium actually belongs to one of the oldest of now existing families of ferns, Ophioglossaceae
As ‘Miss Fern’ number two I would put Woodsia ilvensis, a cliff growing fern that is widespread and common throughout the northern hemisphere but rare in the Scandinavian Mountains. It was  also nice  to make the acquaintance of its smaller relative, Woodsia glabella, which reaches only 2–10cm tall. It is rare and is found only in the mountain chain's most northerly parts.  It is not very common in other areas either. In Europe it occurs principally in the Southern Alps. Naturally we also found a couple of other Woodsiaceae; the charming little Cystopteris fragilis, which is quite unusual, and the common Gymnocarpium dryopteris. The similarly small Phegopteris connectilis (belonging to large family Thelypteridaceae) which always looks so fresh and crispy was found in many other locations and so were the much larger Matteuccia struthiopteris and Athyrium filix-femina.

Dryopteris expansa, a beautiful circumboreal species, which in Europe is mainly concentrated in Scandinavia and the Baltic countries, covered a large hillside with its undulating crispy foliage. 
Dryopteris expansa, which is a common fern at all altitudes in the entire Nordic region. It is beautiful with its long (usually one metre long) sweeping leaves. Björkliden 420m



Vaccinium  macrocarpum and V. vitis idaea are both featured in the IRG article.   Another common, but much larger Vaccinium found in northern Scandinavia is V. uligonosum subsp. alpinum. This species is deciduous and has red or white flowers and blue berries that have an insipid taste. It is also found in mountain ranges in southern Europe and in a belt of North America. Despite its English name, Bog Blueberry, it even grows on dry heaths.



The rose relative Sibbaldia procumbens, does in appearance, especially in the leaves, more than anything resemble the genus Potentilla. It is the only representative of its small genus, Sibbaldia, in Sweden. Here, as in the Alps, it is common. It also occurs in Iceland. This individual is photographed at 1000m although the species was found from 800m upwards.



A low-growing individual of Salix hastata subsp.  hastata which has chosen a habitat above the brushwood belt, the bare mountain at 1000m.

IRG ED Team

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 12:06:18 PM »
Rhinanthus minor subsp minor is a rather funny annual, which like Melampyrum, Pedicularis, Bartsia and Euphrasia (all Scropulariaceae, subfamily Rhinanthoideae) is semi-parasitic. The swollen seed pods look like the rattles the court-jesters usually are depicted with and gives the plant its English name. Rhinanthus minor is very common throughout Europe and western Russia. The subspecies is unusual in northern Scandinavian Mountains unlike Rhinanthus minor subsp. groenlandica  which is encountered more often. The latter has its flowers gathered in a rounded top umbel. The species here mentioned mostly parasites on Carex. Another well-known genus of the semi-parasitic subfamily is the beautiful North American genus Castilleja.


In the birch forest at Noulja´s feet, 450m, we also found Polygonatum verticillatum. Actually, it was Joel Levin, attentive as always, who found the red-listed species in his inventory while the rest of us shamefully overlooked it entirely.


Joel  finds Listera



Cornus suecica is very frequent in the northern part of the Scandinavian Mountains, throughout Norway and in large parts of Finland. It also occurs sparsely, especially along the coasts, in the northern hemisphere. It has almost black flowers, unlike the more common C. canadensis with which it hybridizes on North America's east coast. C. suecica forms large mats on moist lean soil.


Campanula uniflora is a high altitude species that in Scandinavia is quite rare. It grows on calcareous soils and can also be found mainly in the North American mountains and Greenland. This specimen was found, however, in the mountain river canyon at 385 m. The species, together with C. rotundifolia subsp. rotundifolia are  the only Campanula in the area.

IRG ED Team

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2013, 12:12:04 PM »
Saxifraga cernua is an interesting species that is quite common in the Scandinavian mountains, with circumboreal spread. It grows well in slightly wetter habitats but we also saw it on the bare mountain (900m) in the shelter of a rock. It very rarely sets seeds, but instead reproduces by  germinated buds that are placed along the stem. Other Saxifraga seen were S. rivularis, S. cespitosa, S. oppositifolia, S. stellaris and S. folioloas which, like S. cernua, reproduces by germinating buds. (Just  an interesting note in case you did not know; S. oppositifolia is the most widespread Saxifraga of its group Porphyrion. It is also the most common flowering plant in Greenland.  Its adaptive habit means that anyone should be able to grow it, almost no matter their weather or soil conditions. There is for example a population close to the lake Boden that thrives in a constantly flooded area.



Rhodiola rosea has, obviously, not got its name due to the colour of the flowers, but the root scent. It is a dioecious species whose yellow-flowered form is also found in for example the Alps and Scotland. The species is red-listed in Sweden. Normally, the plant grows at higher altitudes, but here is photographed on a vertical cliff in the Abiskojåkka canyon at 385m together with Woodsia, Saxifraga cernua and S. cespitosa.



Valley of Kärkevagge


Two large boulders fell right on the trail just days before our excursion.



IRG ED Team

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 12:19:51 PM »
Beautiful Salix reticulata in the same Kärkevagge locality.


Ranunculus pygmaeus (Kärkevagge 835m) is a really small tidbit that can easily be overlooked. It is often found in patches of snow or hidden in damp protection by large stones. It is very similar to Ranunculus hyperboreus subsp. hyperboreus, growing in Scandinavian Mountain´s  northern regions. Both species are circumboreal. The latter is by no means pretty, but is interesting because it only has three petals. It was found, by the once again ever-attentive Joel, on disturbed soil in Abisko village at 400m altitude. Unfortunately, most individuals (seven in total) had already finished flowering.


Parnassia palustris (formerly subsp neogaea) may at first glance seem very insignificant but on a closer look you realize that the plant has very unusual and intricate staminodes. Of the fifteen species in the genus, which is alone in the family Parnassiaceae, this is the only represented in Scandinavia. Please, note that this is the northern, triploid form. In Southern Sweden and other European countries, there is a diploid form. Despite this, they are still considered to be the same subspecies. The species grows at all altitudes and often in slightly humid environments. (The flower in the picture has lost two of the five anthers.



  Silene wahlbergella (left) (Noulja 700m), found in various areas but the best plants are found in those places with more lime , grows in Europe only sparingly in the northernmost Scandinavian Mountains. It occurs, however, in Russia, the Himalayas, and in North America, but at higher altitudes.
S. involucrata subsp. tenella  (right)is a red-listed species, here in the less common forma alba. The species grows at low altitudes, up to 600m, and only at very few localities in northeast Scandinavian Mountains. It is tuft-forming and might reach 20cm high. Here in the river canyon, 385m.



Ed.: Many of  the plants growing in this region of northern Sweden are quite familiar in some of our gardens, though this area is not particularly well known - we hope you enjoy reading about them and seeing them through Susan''s eyes in their native habitat.


Uli Lessnow

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2013, 02:23:30 PM »
Valentin Wijnen:
I spent a delightful afternoon and evening in the house and garden of
Valentin Wijnen two years ago. Many snowdrops and a very good evening meal.
Sweden:
These pictures reminds me of a lovely 7 weeks tour through Sweden 2010.
It is nice to see so many plants here again. Thank you for posting.

Uli
Uli Lessnow from the Power capital of Germany

Susann

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2013, 02:59:08 PM »
Thank you for posting.
Thank you to you, Uli, from my part.

But this post was actually ment to be a BIG APOLOGIZE  to Primula stricta that does grow in the Abisko area ( I am saying in the article in IRG that there are no representatives of the genus in the area). As I have no pictures of the species in flower I add a link to a beautiful picture from a Czech site. http://www.biolib.cz/en/image/id59373/

I also wish to give my thanks to Maggi and co-workers for the big job you do in editing the magazine. It is excellent, even when I am not represented :)

And I do hope some of you readers will target your boots toward the north in the future! If Ulli could stand the gnats, mosquitoes and chilly winds for seven weeks, our part of the world can not be too bad.
The fastest way to reach your goal is to take one step at a time

ashley

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 03:37:58 PM »
Thanks for a wonderful article and such beautiful photographs Susann; I enjoyed it greatly and learned a lot. 
It's fascinating to compare the Abisko flora with that in Sarek a few tens of kilometres further south but at higher altitude (e.g. here).

Congratulations and thanks too to the editorial team for the IRG which goes from strength to strength 8)

And I do hope some of you readers will target your boots toward the north in the future! If Ulli could stand the gnats, mosquitoes and chilly winds for seven weeks, our part of the world can not be too bad.
Agreed ;D
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

Susann

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 07:34:31 PM »
Ashley, I really wish to thank you for such an informative thread. I am sorry I as a newbie did not know about it. If i had known  I wouln´t have had to write the article!
 If you don´t mind I want to print your report and put it in my "Fjällflora" ( flora of Scandinavian Mountains).
It was also interesting to read replies to your posts. For me it is hard to understand that people interested in alpine plants does not know so much about what Norway and Sweden have to offer.
You can walk days and days without any roads or other signs of humans being there before you. But also, if you keep close to the trails there are always small cabins where you can spend the night. They are just for very basic needs, simple bunks, open fire but god for getingt out of the rain for a while. There are also a lot of simple youth hostels along the trails ( not unusual that you need to cross lakes to follow a trail).
The fastest way to reach your goal is to take one step at a time

Valentin Wijnen

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 08:23:16 PM »
Maggi, you did a great job on editing and lay-outing the article upon my snowdrop findings in the IRG January 2013. It is nearly incredible how many people sent emails with reactions, questions, congrats upon the article ( e g content and the pictures you used). Reactions from Scotland, England, Holland, Germany, Belgium,Ireland, Scotland,...just within 1 day after publishing it on The International Rock Gardener.
This is to me the ultimate proove of an alert, persistant, enthusiastic snowdropcommunity all around Europe.
Thanks,
yours!
Valentin
Valentin Wijnen, 'Grakes Heredij',
www.grakesheredij.be
Hoeselt, NE part of Belgium

Maggi Young

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2013, 08:47:30 PM »
Thank you Valentin.
Yes, there is no doubt that galanthus are popular little flowers!
Did you  see in this thread : http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=10029.0 there are also interested words from Switzerland and Canada ?  :)
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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ashley

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2013, 12:17:42 PM »
If i had known  I wouln´t have had to write the article!
Then very lucky for us all that you didn't know ;D Susann!  Abisko has a much richer flora.
Ashley Allshire, Cork, Ireland

shelagh

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Re: IRG 37- January 2013 - EXTRA!
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 04:16:02 PM »
These pictures really do brighten up a very dull and rainy day.  Thanks all.
Shelagh, Bury, Lancs.

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