FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Trientalis europaea, chickweed wintergreen

Trientalis europaea; the chickweed wintergreen is only more or less common in eastern Iceland. Usually it has 7 white petals. The Icelandic name Sjöstjarna and the Dutch name Zevenster both mean Seven-star. This is though not always the case. Sometimes they have only 6 petals and sometimes even 8. The number of stamens is however, nearly always 7 (see photo's). Characteristic for this species is also the pseudo-whorl of a few leaves along the stem. In the fourth photo this can be seen. Another characteristic element is inside the flower. There is a fringe between the stamens and the ovary/pistil which is coloured either whitish or lightly yellowish. This can best be seen on the second and third photo.

The way the plant unfolds its presence is quite peculiar. First it seems to push up - in one single jump - the leaves away from earth into the air (on a relative thick stem) and then a second push jumps the flower into the realm of light (on a slender stem). See the fourth photo.
It is a member of the Primrose family (Primulaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Sjöstjarna.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


2nd photo: flower with 8 petals
3rd photo: finally a flower with 7 petals
4th photo: a complete view on a single plant
reload first photo of flower with 6 petals

8 petals

finally 7 petals

single plant

reload first photo (6 petals)

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