When high school student Arne Handegard collected plants for a herbarium in 1962, he didn’t know what kind of rarity he had pressed into his notebook. 30 years later he attended a botanical lecture, where a picture was shown of a plant he recognized: “Norwegian Sagebrush, which in Norway is only found in a large area of Dovre and in Trollheimen, and in a little area in Ry county”. Arne Handegard raised his hand: “That plant grows on Mt. Jonstein in Jondal”.
On Vollom, northwest of Seim, we find the only natural beech forest in Western Norway, which is also the most northerly of its type in the world. Beech grows also many other places in the county, but these trees are totally lacking in history compared with those of Vollomskogen Forest.
Otterstadstølen lies in an idyllic grassy plain surrounded by rich forest, but also with high mountains close by. The mountainsides are steep and typical of this part of the county. The same cannot be said about the forest. This spruce forest has been able to develop freely for hundreds of years. Otherwise in the county, only Voss has spruce forest.
Mountain plants with their beautiful, colourful flowers are common in high altitude areas in Norway. On the coast there are not so many of them. But, here and there one nonetheless finds mountain plants, and this makes some coastal mountainsides a little bit different. Perhaps the growth on these mountainsides gives us a little glimpse of a distant past?
It is difficult to imagine that a plant can grow at the same place for many thousands of years: Climate and local environment change. Different species grow up and die out. Nonetheless, some plants get established, but don't manage to spread into new areas, because the climate is at the edge of what they can tolerate. Great fen-sedge is just such a plant.
How did the spruce tree get to Voss? Did the seed or small spruce plants get help from people, for example, to make it here unscathed? Nobody knows.