A taste of Finse

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Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15
A taste of Finse

Finse is a railway station situated on the highest pass between Bergen and Oslo at 1222m. The line between Bergen and Oslo wasn't completed till 1909 in a difficult terrain with about 100km in the alpine zone. The highest point is at 1237m.

Now it is hotels and other lodges here and also a research station. A small trail used by cyclists follow the railway. It is very popular and much visited by all kind of people, also families with children.

Last week (16.7.-20.7.2012) I stayed at the research station with other teachers on a alpine geology and ecology course. As you can see from the pics the spring is very late this year - several weeks behind the normal.

The weather was wet and gray the first days but improved. We went to the foot of the Hardangerjøkulen (Hardanger Glacier) a 75sq km glacier where parts of the epic "Star wars" was filmed. (Episode V, the planet Hoth). The glacier has receded the last years. The bedrock is granite overlaid by phylite and gneiss formed by the Caledonian orogeny and several ice ages.

When we investigated the north side of the valley the weather improved much.

Hoy
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Some plants from the moraines left by the receding Hardangerjøkulen:

       

Arabis alpina, Cassiope hypnoides, Saxifraga cespitosa

       

Rhodiola rosea, Salix glauca female and male.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Toole
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Joined: 2010-07-02

Wonderful images    :o  Hoy .

Cheers Dave

Invercargill
Bottom of the South Island New Zealand
Zone 8 maritime climate
1100mm,(40 in),rainfall p.a.
Nil snow cover

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Thanks Dave, more to come ;)

       

The small hemiparasitic Euphrasia frigida grows in huge numbers. Maybe it parasite the "mouse ear" (Betula nana). Phyllodoce caerula is smaller than farther down. Cerastium alpinum grows among the rocks and the beautiful moth mountain burnet (Zygaena exulans) rests on a Salix glauca leaf.

       

Salix reticulata grows here. That means some lime in the soil. Another salix is S. myrsinites, usually found on moist rich soil. Oxyria digyna (tastes very good!) needs a little moisture too. The ubiquitous Saxifraga stellaris (syn Micranthes s.) tolerates very short seasons.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

The other side of the valley is warmer (southfacing) and the soil is better - where soil exists! A constant trickle of moisture from the lingering snowdrifts higher up provide water and nutrient washed out of the weathering shale and phylite.

       

We find some of the same plants but they are usually much larger like the Rhodiola rosea. Some of the specimens are female (with red carpels) and some are male (the yellow ones). Saxifraga rivularis likes moisture!

       

Salix reticulata also has separate sexes and it id easy to see why it is called reticulata! Another sax grows here in moist places shaded from sun: Saxifraga cernua. The small Minuartia bifolia is easy to overlook.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

       

Orchids are rather rare in Norway but we have a few like the parasitic Corallorhiza trifida and the photosynthesizing Coeloglossum viride They are small though. The turf on the steep slope is strewn by Viola bifolia and we can't avoid trampling on some. Silene acaulis is very common here.

       

Viscaria alpina is common too but needs heavy metals (copper) in the soil. Saxifrage adscendens prefere drier habitats. Two of the three fleabanes occurring here are difficult to separate but one is more hairy, Erigeron uniflorus and E. eriocephalus.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
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Joined: 2009-10-27

A very interesting trip, Trond, and what excellent photos! 

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

cohan
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Joined: 2011-02-03

Great spot- nice place to spend some time, and cool that it has facilities.
Love all the plants- willows are especially nice  ;D
You know, I never realised that the Rhodiola have different sex plants with different colours! Is that common in other spp too?

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Super place, Trond!  It is always so foreign to me to see winter snow on the ground while lakes are already thawing.  That NEVER happens here!  you took so many interesting photos.  Those erigerons are darling!

I always love to see the entire plants (not just the flowers) and that extends to both male and females too, when applicable.  Thanks for showing them!

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
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Joined: 2009-12-15

Thanks so far, Lori, Cohan and Rick! However, it is a bit more . . . . . .

       

Dryas octopetala is rather common in this area and covers vast areas on the phylite and shale. Oxytropis lapponica is common together with the Dryas. Pinguicula vulgaris grows on moister soils. Antennaria dioica and the rather similar A alpina prefer drier ground.

       

Other plants are Saxifraga nivalis, not very showy, but interesting,  and the showiest of all: Veronica fruticans.

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I think you will know all the plants in the following photos now!

       

       

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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