FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Bartsia alpina, alpine bartsia

Bartsia alpina; The alpine bartsia is common all over Iceland and can be found found in pastures but quite often also in ravines, on cliffs and on mountain slopes. Elsewhere it grows both in many European and North American regions (Eastern and North Eastern Canada). Like other figwort species this plant is a hemi-parasite: the roots of this plant taps into the roots of other plants in order to "steal" nutrients like Nitrogen and Phosfates of which the availibity in the soil can be limited. Scientific research has shown that they often parasite on Bistorta vivipara and heather species. Given that it grows in many different soils and under a variety of ecological conditions it is clear that it parasites on many different plants. .
It is a member of the broomrape family (Orobranchaceae) but in the past it was considered to be a member of the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Smjörgras.

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Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


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