Wednesday, July 27, 2011

in the clouds

We went up Åreskutan (a mountain in Jämtland) in the cable car, which takes you to about 4,000 feet, only about 200 short of the summit. This was on a rainy July 18th, the first day for weeks when the mountain happened to be in thick cloud. It was cold, windy and wet, with visibility down to about 20m.

The view from the restaurant. The flags, L-R, of Finland, Jämtland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Same people.

Fortified by an 11 am lunch of grillad korv and gulaschsoppa we managed about ten minutes outside before being ported back down to our world. Here's what it was like outside (and that's my mum, more sensibly dressed than I was).

During those minutes I took a few snaps of plants growing near to the cablecar station, and later I looked them up in Fjällflora, Sten Selander's Swedish translation of the classic book by Olav Gjærevoll and Reidar Jørgensen with illustrations by Dagny Tande Lid (1952 and many later editions). Be assured that, blurry as they are, these were the best ones. And there's something wonderful about them, at least to me.

Saxifraga rivularis L. (Snöbräcka - Highland Saxifrage)

Gnaphalium norvegicum Gunnerus. (Norsknoppa - Highland Cudweed)

Juncus trifidus L. (Klynnetåg - Three-leaved Rush)

Some sort of willow. Possibly Salix lanata (Ullvide) or Salix hastata (Blekvide).

Saxifraga stellaris L. (Stjärnbräcka - Starry Saxifrage)

Eriophorum scheuchzeri Hoppe. (Polarull - "Polar Cottongrass"). Not found in the UK, at least not now. Thomas Walford's Scientific Tourist (1818) recorded it (under the older name Eriophorum capitatum) as growing "by the side of a rivulet" on Ben Lawers.

Polygonum vivipara (L.) Ronse Decr.* (Ormrot - Alpine Bistort). Also a very common plant in the lowlands of N. Sweden, but there, because of the hot dry summer, it had finished flowering. The mountain plant was less advanced and looked very different, because entirely viviparous (spike consisting entirely of bulbils, no flowers at the top).

*This means that Linnaeus originally named it Polygonum viviparum, and Ronse corrected his grammar.

Alchemilla glomerulans Buser. (Källdaggkåpa - a Lady's-mantle which is also found in the UK but, like many of the species in this critical genus, doesn't have a recognized English name)

Sagina saginoides (L.) H. Karst. (Stennarv - Alpine Pearlwort)

(Above and below) Poa alpina L. (Fjällgröe - Alpine Meadow-grass)

Oxyria digyna (L.) Hill (Fjällsyra - Mountain Sorrel)

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