Plants and flora
Many visitors to Greenland during the summer months are surprised at how many wildflowers and other plants thrive in the harsh arctic environment.
There are several books about the flora of Greenland and if this is a specific interest of yours we would recommend purchasing Greenland’s Small Miracles: A Guidebook to 50 Greenlandic Flowers by Gitte Lincke Ottosen. You can also check out the Asimi website for information before you hike. Unfortunately, the website is only in Greenlandic and Danish, but you can right-click on a blank section of the page and choose Translate to …. to translate to your language of preference.
For those with a more general interest, the following are some of the key plants to look out for.
This is Greenland’s national flower and is very common throughout the country – particularly in sandy areas. It is easy to spot as its bright pink petals really stand out against the landscape.
These bluish-purple berries are culinary gold along the Arctic Circle Trail. They are sweet berries that you can pick along the way and eat as a snack, or store in a container to add to your porridge in the morning
Another one to add to main meals. Greenland has a wide variety of mushrooms in the right season – most of which are edible. However, the ones to look out for are the bolete mushrooms – easily recognizable by their spongy (rather than gilled) undersides. This spongy bit should be removed before cooking.
Note: if it is warm and you collect your mushrooms in a plastic bag, you will see lots of tiny white worms escaping the mushrooms. These are harmless, but if you don’t want to see them we recommend using a more breathable collection method!
If you’d like a change from coffee or whatever tea you brought with you – try boiling up the leaves of this plant. It is a popular tea here in Greenland.
A word of caution – the plant does contain a toxin that is only released if boiled in a closed container for a long time. Make sure you remove the leaves if you plan to put your brewed tea in a thermos.