The vegetation in Iceland is fragile and marked by the country’s position near the North Pole. During summer, however, the flora is colourful and serene, often making the landscape alien. There’s no place like Iceland.
The Golden Circle, the national parks, the geysers, the mountains and hills: All of these regions are considered landmarks or sights embedded in beautiful scenery and stunning landscapes. This is for a huge part because of a geological reason. The plate tectonic creates areas with rifts, waterfalls and valleys. The location of Iceland is also interesting as it is a country in the far north of the northern hemisphere, making Iceland a home for special and unique animals.
But this is not the only reason why we think of Iceland as such a picturesque scenery. Imagine the island without the wide, plain areas of green plants. Imagine the wildlife finding no spot to stand in for a beautiful background of your animal photograph. Imagine Iceland without the Vegetation.
The vegetation and plant life in Iceland is fragile and clearly marked by the island northerly position. There are also many lava fields, since this is a volcanic island, and the moss that grow there are very fragile. You will also quickly notice the lack of woods, there are very few forests in Iceland where tall trees grow, but the trees are low and mostly made up by birch.
Beautiful Plants in Iceland
Iceland without its unique vegetation would not be Iceland. One of the reasons the island has gained fame globally is because of the beautiful flora. The plants, flowers and trees have adapted to a rough nature and therefore have created individual ways to deal with the cold winters and the mild summers, as well as wind and weather in general. Icelandic vegetation is characterised by low-growing plant species and a relatively small number of wild vascular plants.
Back in the Ice Age, many plant species were extinct because of extreme conditions. After that, many plants came from America or Greenland, but of course also from Europe to Iceland. They found a rough habitat and had to develop ways to deal with it.
During the summer the flora is colorful and, perhaps due to the clear blue skies and the peculiar, yet sensational, light in Iceland, the colors seem more vibrant. The green grass seem somehow greener and the dandelions are even more yellow (somehow that seems possible!). Along with the strange and unearthly landscapes, the scenery in Iceland seems almost alien and not of this world, where you have black sands, towering glaciers, roaring waterfalls and still, glades of green grass, tea-leaf willows, shrubs, purple lupine and grey moss.
However, the most interesting part of Iceland when looking for plants and vegetation is the Icelandic Wilderness and the Highlands, with their large, bare open areas. Did you know that only a quarter of the island is vegetated? To spot a Cranesbill, Alpine Lady’s Mantle or Hawkweed hiding among rocks in the black deserts in the Highlands is astounding and makes you wonder, how hardy these small plants are.
Where do you find the beautiful Vegetation in Iceland?
Not everywhere on the island you can be blown away by the stunning plants. Of course, in Reykjavík you will not find a lot of free nature areas. But thanks to the otherwise sparsely populated island, it is not hard to take a look at the special vegetation in Iceland.
Huge forests are not so common in Iceland, mostly because of the country being the rocky areas of mountains and volcanoes and also the wind at the shores. This is why forests or groups of trees can be found in valleys in the inland, where the wind is not so strong anymore. Great places are the national parks in the west of Iceland, which can also be discovered within a Jeep Tour along the west coast.
Furthermore, herbs and flowers are more widespread in Iceland. Famous are for example some subspecies of orchids, moss and lichen. These plants are almost resistant against weather conditions and do not need that much sun, heat or even the right underground. They grow well on volcanic stone areas, such as basalt, which is why huge areas seem green even though the underground is made of rock.
Bananas in Iceland?
The most remote places in Iceland can be the prettiest. Hot spots like geysers create an atmosphere in which a lot of vegetation can grow, both naturally or man-made. Farmer even grow bananas in the green houses built around the warm areas.
Contrary, in the mountains you can find signs of plants of the tundra. Yellow flowers called marsh marigold are a beautiful opposition to the grey or green rocks, which is why they are one of the favourite foregrounds for pictures of landscape photographers. You can visit this unique vegetation on a Jeep Tour and go off-road to explore the country in another way than any other tourist!