Posted by Ashley
Although we’re home from Sweden (and still feeling a little bittersweet), I thought it’d be worth reminiscing on a few of the beautiful plants we saw in Abisko. You know, for memory’s sake.
Several of our projects dealt with vegetation characterization, so we had a great time learning about all these plants and butchering the pronunciation of their scientific names.
Here are a few of them:
Let’s start with wildflowers! Why not? This is a chunk of various flowers growing near our little dorm-esque building at ANS. Some of the flowers in there are fireweed, milk-vetch, and yarrow.
Next up, some ancient grass! (Who doesn’t love ancient grass?)
And a post about Arctic vegetation would be incomplete without a shout-out to birch. Mountain birch, dwarf birch, this place was dominated by birch. Some had leaves, but others were completely defoliated (eaten up) by caterpillars.
Lignonberry and other Vaccinium sp. (blueberry family).
A blueberry! Some wild blueberries grew in the uplands around Abisko, affording the lucky hiker a chance to nibble on one. Or ten.
Our old friend, Eriophorum. Or ‘cotton grass’ if you aren’t wearing your fancy pants today. This is one of the major (and majorly noticeable) plants on Stordalen Mire. You can see the little tufts of “cotton” on top of those blades from a long distance away. Large expanses of Eriophorum blowing in the breeze made for a very pretty sight after a long day in the field.
Carex (a sedge) and Sphagnum (a moss) like to hang out in wet places. Like Stordalen. Also, like thaw ponds on Stordalen, which you can see in the photo above. Eventually, this little depression in the permafrost will likely fill with more water and the sphagnum will clear out a bit.
By now, readers of this blog will know all about cloudberries. Here’s one up close when we first arrived in Abisko. Don’t let that beautiful magenta color fool you into thinking it’s ready to eat. Cloudberries turn gold when ripe, and luckily they were nice and gold by about week 3 of our trip.
Aren’t there some cool plants up there? We thought so.