Background Information on the Flora of Iceland

Characteristic features, ecology and natural history:

2) American or European?



American species

The question if the flora is American or European by nature can easily be settled: mainly European. In the introduction page of this section it has been mentioned that there are only 10 species considered to be true American species and some 100 species true European. Having reached this conclusion it should also be stated that some American species play an important role in Iceland's vegetation! For example the Lyngbye's Sedge (Carex lyngbyei - Gulstör) Lyngbye's Sedge (Carex lyngbyei - Gulstör) is a dominant species in Iceland wetlands. It is a large sedge which can easily be recognized by Iceland's only other tall sedge, the Bottle sedge ( Carex rostrata) by its drooping spikes.

Another true American sedge is the Hoppner's Sedge (Carex subspathacea - Flæðastör) Hoppner's Sedge (Carex subspathacea - Flæðastör) . This sedge is a very small species that grows on salt soils all along the coast The Lyngbye's and Hoppner 's sedges are believed to be closely related (although the don't resemble each other at all) because a third American species, also on Iceland is the Ramenski's sedge (Carex ramenskii) is sometimes considered to be a hybrid product. This species grow on grassy brackish grounds, often in fjord areas where fresh water rivers meet the slaty sea. This sedge grows in area's that are only occasionally flooded by sea water.

Another (more or less) American species is the Arctic Riverbeauty (Chamerion latifolium - Eyrarrós) Arctic Riverbeauty (Chamerion latifolium - Eyrarrós) . Although the species is found rarely in some localities of the Eur-Asian continent, it is primarily and commonly found in America (Alaska Canada), Greenland and Iceland.

Continue with:
1)  introduction
2) Is the flora American or European? (this page)
3)  The main vegetation types
4)  Regional differences in the flora
5)  Influences of the glacial era's and the revegetation after the last glacial period

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