Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Small Moor in Rold Skov, Himmerland

A tour to Lindeborg River Valley from the morning ended with a visit in the afternoon to a small moor in Rold Skov north of Madum Sø, where we have been before. It is a peaceful lovely place with Cottongrass, Heather, Bell heather, Blueberry, Crowberry, Cowberry, Cranberry, Bog rosemary and Sweet gale - and there is a spicy scent of all these herbs and bushes and berries. There were many butterflies in the air, but some of them vanished quickly across the moor, and it's better to study this place in the hours just before noon. So we'll come back. The whole Himmerland district is a wonderful place to visit.

NB: The presence of Cottongrass is a useful indicator to hikers of potentially dangerous deep peat bogs to be avoided.

This little moor is a so-called fattigkær (= poor marsh), which is a sour and nutrient-poor moor. Today most of those poor marshes and the raised bogs are listed in Denmark. (raised bog: Portland Mose, Lille Vildmose).
Every garden owner knows the spaghnum or the peat litter, which is for sale at garden centres, but few might know that it comes from a little leaf-moss, which is found in the poor marsh and the raised bog -and it might be up till about 10.000 years old, when it is sold. 

The flora in the moors is rather homogeneous, since only few species can live in the nutrient-poor and sour environment. Many species are also found in other light-open and nutrient-poor biotopes, like upon the heaths.

As for the fauna the moor is a very monotonous society with life-conditions demanding a high grade of specialization. Thousands of years of stability in the spaghnum-moors have made the connected species well-qualified to survive here, but not in other places. Changes in the moors might imply that species die out very quickly. Three breeding butterflies, the Large Heath, the Cranberry Fritillary and the Cranberry Blue are directly tied to the open fattigkær/poor marsh. They are rare species as a whole in Denmark, but often common in the Jutland localities, where they live. Many other insect-species have their main habitat in these moors (dragonflies, beatles).    

Bell heather
Klokkelyng/Bell heather, also named Cross-leaved heath, is common in Denmark in low, moist parts of heaths and moors, especially in Jutland where it was earlier called "kopatter" (cow teats) , but it is rare in the rest of the country. It was also called karbørstelyng (=a brush), since the stalks of the plant were used for fine hair-brushes. Bell heather is used as a bottom-plant in acidophilus-beds. The honey from Bell heather is dark and aromatic.

Red Cowberry and Black Crowberry
Tyttebær/Cowberry grows especially in dry or moist heaths and moors in light-open softwoods or birch woods. The berries are used for jam and marmelade, while the leaves were earlier used in teas.The plant has been known for thousands of years. In the Egtvedpigen's grav (Bronze Age) were found rests of cowberry -wine. Cowberry was once a main ingredient in keeping people healthy in Sweden through the long winters, where they had no vegetables. A porridge with salt pork and cowberry jam was a classical meal in winter.

Tyttebær/Cowberry was from the beginning of the 1800s a big commodity during the season. The right to pluck the berries were either according to custom or belonged to the landowner. The berries were sold to the city-people in Jutland  or  sent as far away as to Copenhagen. A family on the heath could make much money by plucking cowberry. This was an important part of the family-economy, especially in areas far from manors and taxation-authorities, who could not collect taxes from the family's profit.

Revling/Crowberry has been a vital addition to the diet of the Inui and the Sami.  It is regaining its reputation as an edible berry. It provides a steady crop and the gathering is relatively easy.The berries are usually collected in the fall of the year but if not picked they may persist on the plant and can be picked in the spring. The Inuit and Native Americans mix them with other berries, especially the blueberry. Cooking enhances the flavor. They make good pie and jelly. Crowberry is also fine in a homemade snaps.

Bog rosemary
Rosmarinlyng (Bog Rosemary) is rare and listed in Denmark. The name derives from the superficial resemblance of the leaves to those of the unrelated shrub Rosemary. Bog Rosemary is mostly found in Jutland. The pale pink flowers grow in clusters. The whole plant, which contains the substance andromedotoxin, is poisonous. Leaves and twigs are used for tanning in Russia.  

Cranberry Fritillary

Moseperlemorsommerfugl/ Cranberry fritillary has a wing span of 32-42 mm. It flies quickly and whirringly and seeks especially the flowers of Bell heather, but wanders around to find good nectare plants. The fodderplant of the caterpillar is cranberry. The Cranberry fritillary has disappeared gradually because the raised bogs were destroyed. It is necessary to protect this butterfly.

Small Blue
Dværgblåfugl/Small Blue has a wingspan of 18-24 mm. The small size makes it easy to recognize. It flies slowly and whirringly in low height, often down among the vegetation. The male is territorial and often sits upon low plants with outspread wings turned to the sun, making the silverblue sheen distinct. It is common in most of Denmark but declining upon the Isles. 

Meadow Brown

  Græsrandøje/ Meadow brown. This is Denmark's most common butterfly. It has a wing span of 36-52 mm. It has a slow hopping flight in low height, but sometimes it flies quicker and seeks up in the air around trees.  The fodderplant of the caterpillar is grass.

So - Goodbye to  the moor in Rold Skov and to Himmerland! We'll soon come back! I had a fine talk with this sweet pony. What a fine colour. No need for a hair-dye! 

photo Himmerland 9. July 2011: grethe bachmann


Teresa Evangeline said...

The sweet meadow butterfly and then the sweet pony is a very nice combination.

Thyra said...

You're so right. Hadn't noticed it!
Grethe ´)

Wanda..... said...

Love the coloring of the ponies and what would we do without all the numerous plants of the world and their vast and different uses!

Thyra said...

Those ponies are so sweet. I wish I could have one!
Wouldn't we be lost without all our wonderful plants! We're soon taking a walk among them, aren't we? It's raining cats and dogs here, and it won't stop! I want SUN in the week-end!

Saloma Furlong said...

How very beautiful! Really nice photography!


Thyra said...

Hello Saloma! I'm glad you like it. And it is so sweet of you to tell me.