Trainling azalea – one of the tough survivors in the fells. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.Trainling azalea – one of the tough survivors in the fells. Photo: Naturcentrum AB.

Creeping brushwood and

flowering herbs

The soil layer is thin and poor almost everywhere in Gränslandet. Unassuming, low-growing species dominate, but many are exquisitely beautiful. Heather, bilberry, crowberry and cowberry are the most common plants, and the yellowish white Lapland lousewort is one of the species that shows up here and there. Reindeer lichens, alpine clubmoss, dwarf birch, trailing azalea and blue heath are some hardy low-growing plants that survive far up in the fells.

Mangy alpine plants are hairy, as this helps them retain a little moisture and warmth in hard winds. Others survive by growing very close together.

More floral splendour in the valleys

In the lushest valleys you find a profusion of globe-flower, alpine blue-sow-thistle and monk’s-hood, but these habitats are rare in Gränslandet. The most herb-rich ground is found around old farms and mountain holdings. In the past, the bogs and alpine meadows were cut with scythes and cattle grazed in the forest.

Plants that defied the ice age

The latest ice age lasted for around 100 000 years, but the extension and thickness of the ice sheet varied. During some periods, the highest mountain peaks projected above the surface of the inland ice. Such isolated peaks surrounded by glaciers are called nunataks. The first plants and trees sprouted here. Some scientists claim that certain alpine species survived the entire ice age on nunataks.

Twoflower violet climbs on alpine heaths all over the northern hemisphere. It’s hardier than other violets and the only one that is yellow.

Alpine bistort is common on the mountain slopes. Under the white flower are small bulbils, which fall off and form new plants. The summers are often too short for normal plant reproduction. In the past, people picked the nutritious bulbils and ate them with milk. They can also be used in baking, as an alternative to sesame seeds. But today, it’s mostly ptarmigan that eat the alpine bistort bulbils.

Dwarf birch takes over where mountain birch gives up. In winter, dwarf birch survives by being embedded in snow.


The flora in Gränslandet is poor, but the sharp-eyed botanist can find quite a few rarities. Below are some of the rare plants you may find.

Storvätteshogna’s northern slope
Huperzia selago ssp. arctica
Lycopodium clavatum ssp. monostachyon

Storvätteshogna, south-south-west of Santesontjärnen
Parsley fern – Cryptogramma crispa

Töfsingdalen, near Stora fallet
Large white buttercup – Ranunculus platanifolius

Städjan’s top and eastern slope
Spring pasque flower – Pulsatilla vernalis

1 kilometre west of Bolagsvallen, Nipfjället
Interrupted clubmoss – Lycopodium annotinum ssp. alpestre

Storvigelen, along trail, just south-west of wind shelter
Glacier buttercup – Ranunculus glacialis

Store Svuku
Curved wood-rush – Luzula arcuata

Bog at Røvollen
Capitate sedge – Carex capitata
Bristle sedge – Carex michroglochin
Common twayblade – Listera ovata

Båthusberget and Djupsjøen
Club sedge – Carex buxbaumii
Close-sheath cotton-grass – Eriophorum brachyantherum
Variegated horsetail – Equisetum variegatum

Femunden’s shore
Lousewort – Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum

Dwarf BirchDwarf Birch

Twin Flowered VioletTwin Flowered Violet

Alpine BistortAlpine Bistort

Parsley FernParsley Fern

Spring Pasque-flowerSpring Pasque-flower

Common TwaybladeCommon Twayblade

Photo: Naturcentrum AB.


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Reading tip

Often, A. Botaniske strøobservasjoner på østsida av Femunden, Hedmark. Fylkesmannen i Hedmark. Miljøvernavdelingen. Rapport 56/91.