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”.
Many mountain plants are well prepared to face cold and wind. Some would surely rather face an easier life in the lowlands, but they cannot compete with the higher-growing plants living there. Most mountain plants manage to compete for light and space only if they cling to the bedrock and gravel in the harsh high alpine climate.
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?
Folds are to be found everywhere in the remains of the Caledonian mountain chain. Some were formed during the collision with Greenland, others stem from the time when the mountain chain collapsed. Few can compare with the giant fold that remains in the mountain area around Tørvikenuten, Vesoldo and Hellefjellet.
From Kinsekvelven river and inward to Lake Veivatnet, we can wander through one of Hardangervidda's many fertile areas. A number of finicky plants grow here, and there are plenty of birds and fish. We can thank a lime rich soil for the diversity.