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Photo gallery
Photo gallery
Alpine mouse ear Hairy stonecrop Wood crane's bill Roseroot Bogbean


Once, Iceland was covered with forest. In the early days of settlement, trees were cleared for fuel, building materials and grazing. The introduction of livestock, particularly sheep has prevented the regeneration of much of the native woodlands. Today, areas of birch and willow still grow in sheltered valleys (eg Skaftafell) and in some places conifers and larch have been planted particularly around Lake Lagarfljót in Egilsstađir. 

Autumn in Lón

Autumn colours are especially striking in these northern latitudes and some of the most spectacular displays can be seen around Lake Mývatn and Ţingvellir

Arctic river beauty
Bog bilberry

There are approx. 500 flowering plant species in Iceland although many of these are grasses and sedges. This lack of variety is due to the climate and the country’s isolation. Low growing alpines predominate, deriving warmth from the soil and avoiding the strong winds. Some North American species have extended their range to Iceland - particularly the Arctic River Beauty - and some such as the Icelandic Hawk Weed are unique to Iceland.

In early June, Purple Saxifrage and Moss Campion dot the landscape, then the bright yellow Alpine Cinquefoil and white Mountain Avens come into flower.

Iceland has its share of terrestrial orchids and the Northern Green Orchid, which is widely distributed, can be seen flowering in July and August.

Bilberries and Crowberries make a useful addition to the autumn larder.

Images of Iceland’s flora


Northern green orchid