Tulips in the Arctic

Beautiful spring Tulips adorned the reception desk of our arctic holiday village. Hues in green and yellow reflecting the Aurora Borealis! To travel in this part of Finnish Lapland is to travel in the clearest lights and purest of air. Flowers and foliage might not be most prevalent during the arctic night, but fast forward to the time of the midnight sun and an abundance of flora can be found.

Stretching North to Svalbard and west to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, flowers can be found in abundance. Look carefully on the fells and moors and you will find Alpine Arnica (Arnica Angustifolia), Arctic white heather (Cassiope Tetragona), creeping azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens) and dwarf cornel (Cornus Suecica). Filling the landscape with colours of soft cream, yellow, pinks, purples and oranges. Colours reflecting landscape in all its beauty. These (and many others) grow low and small. These clever little plants protect themselves from the harsh Arctic wind and early season frosts.

The Kilpisjärvi region in the far northeast of Finland nestled alongside the northern borders of Sweden and Norway has a marine climate, the bedrock here is calciferous, these lovely little arctic blooms get nutritious soils to thrive in.

Arctic plants such as these store solar energy in very low temperatures. In the short Northern Summer, they blossom rapidly, bursting with leaves and buds.

The indigenous people of Arctic Lapland use the berries and flowers of these arctic plants to keep them healthy. Sámi families used garden angelica (Angelica Archangelica) as a valuable source of vitamin C, this hardy little plant with its frothy green blooms, is used in medicine, tea and as a spice. Legend tells that Garden arnica was even used to cure the Plague! Other arctic flowers and foliage used by Sámi families include bilberries and cloudberries, with their bright autumnal shades of oranges, reds and yellow, they reflect the amazing twenty-four-hour arctic sunshine!

As with all places on our Earth, there are those arctic flowers that are endangered with the changes in the climate! The Glacier buttercup is facing an unsettled future if the climate is to heat up in Arctic Finland. The glacier buttercup enjoys snow-covered pastures, drinking in the icy meltwater, flourishing on the banks of mountain becks. Flowering as the snow melts, this beautiful flower is sunshine well before the summer. Luckily the glacier buttercup is protected throughout the whole of Finland.

Arctic national flowers include Finland- Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis). Sweden, Twinflower (Linnea Borealis). Norway, Purple heather (calluna Vulgaris). Iceland, Mountain Avens, (Dryas octopetala). Greenland, Dwarf fireweed (Chamerion latifolium).
Visit https://www.arcticcentre.org/EN/arcticregion/Blossoming-Arctic for lots of more information.

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