Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stamp of the Day: Scandinavian Springflowers

Here are a few Nordic spring flowers that don't occur in USA:

Tussilago or hästhov (yellow, top left, Tussilago farfara): loves to grow in muddy ditches and is the first flower of the spring. The leaves of the plants show up much later.

Blåsippa (blue, top right; Hepatica nobilis), is an anemone (windflower) and we have a relative here in New Jersey that looks very similar. Since the leaves are shaped liked kidneys and livers, this plant was used for diseases in those organs. In the past, there was a strong belief that God had marked all plants with signatures like shapes and colors to indicate what the species was good for. This was called the Doctrine of Signatures, and of course is totally bogus and unscientific.

Vitsippa (white, bottom left; Anemone nemorosa) is also a windflower and covers large areas in the forests in early spring. I love this plant.

Gulsippa (yellow, bottom right; Anemone ranunculoides) often grows with the vitsippa but is more uncommon and can't be found as far north as vitsippas in Sweden. All of these flowers occur at Barking Dog Plaza in Sweden, and I really miss them here in USA. When you see these, you really know it is spring and not winter.

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