Friday, August 30, 2013

Iceland - Wild Flowers

Merja sent me these two covers with the nice stamps on them. Iceland has many varieties of wild flowers. Four of these are shown on this cover at right dated 15.7.1964, and two on the cover at left dated 17.1.1968 They are :
50a on both covers. The mountain avens is a common plant in heathers and gravely/sandy soils. It can be found almost everywhere on Iceland. It is model plant for paleobotany. Presently the species occurs in the subarctic regions and on the high mountains of central Europe and the Scottish/Welsh mountains etc.. From pollen research it is known to have been widespread through the lowlands of Europe during the glacial periods. The flowers are quite conspicuous but so are the maturing fruits with the spirally, hairy tufts of the maturing fruit (see photo of maturing fruits)
It is a member of the rose family 
1.00kr. The meadow buttercup grows both in lowlands in drier meadows and meadows and pastures as well as in the highlands in snow beds. The photo was shot in spring showing early flowers. Later the flowers grow on upright stems. The other similar common buttercup is the creeping buttercup (R. repens) differs in having compound leaves where as the meadow buttercup has hand-shaped deeply incised but entire leaves. Other buttercups which are common on Iceland have small leaves and grow generally on damp/wet places.
It is a member of the buttercup family
1.50kr. Bogbean is a beautiful perennial plant with trefoil leaves and spikes of pink and white fringed flowers. It grows mainly in bogs and marshes in cold water. Early Native American Indians boiled the root and stems for spitting blood and other internal problems. Colonists used the leaves as a cathartic and a remedy for constipation, fevers, rheumatism, scurvy, scabies, and dropsy. They also used it to treat skin diseases, jaundice, and intestinal worms.
2.00kr. The white clover is a common species of grasslands, roadsides, home gardens etc. The flowers are generally white but occasionally they may have a reddish color. It is a member of the Pea family. 
2.50 kr. Vicia cracca (tufted vetchcow vetchbird vetchboreal vetch), is a species of vetch native to Europe and Asia. It occurs on other continents as an introduced species, including North America, where it is a common weed. It often occurs in disturbed habitats, including old-fields and roadside ditches.
The plant is fast-growing and flowers prolifically, sending out one-sided racemes of cascading pea-flower shaped purple to violet flowers from the leaf axil during its late spring to late summer flowering period. The flowers drop off and tiny bright green seed pods start to form. Cow Vetch is very similar to Hairy Vetch (V. villosa), but is distinguished from the latter by its smooth stem.

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