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Cloudberries

In most countries cloudberries can only be found hjortronat delicatessen – if at all, and at exorbitant prices. However, with a bit of luck you can pick kilos of these shiny orange-yellow berries, which in Swedish are called 'hjortron', along the Vildmarksvägen. This 'Gold of the North' grows primarily in marshlands, but in open forests as well.

For a good harvest you need, apart from some sense of detection, especially the predisposition of the weather gods. For although the plant will survive temperatures of –38 degrees Celsius, it is very sensitive to cold waves after the beginning of its growing phase.

Around the end of May you can find the first white flowers at the 5 to 25 cm high plants. As soon as the outer bracts roll away, and the fruits colour yellowish orange, they are ripe. August is the best time for picking.

Those who can resist the temptation to eat the wild vitamin C rich berries rightaway, can use them for making delicious jams, sauces, deserts, liquors or pies.

Mountain Birches

In the mountains, just below the tree line, you will see the odd mountain birches, a sub-species of the marsh birch. fjallbjorkThese little trees, which even at high age get hardly any bigger than a shrub, withstand the Swedish long and cold winters with their high snowdrifts and icy storms. Because of these winds they grow into crooked and bent figures, looking as if they were designed by a sculptor.

Cowberries

Without the "lingon", which is the Swedish name for the cowberry, it is impossible to imagine the regional cuisine. lingonRaw these healthy berries are hardly edible, but used in a compote or sauce they are a delightful enrichment of game dishes, "köttbullar" (traditional Swedish small meatballs), potatoes and pancakes. Cowberry juice is a dainty refreshment.

The small evergreen shrubs grow in the half-shade, and you find them mostly in the neighbourhood of spruce. The dark red berries can be picked from end of August till middle of September. Tip: To pick lots cowberries in a short time, use a „bärplockare" !

Tree Beards

In the forests around the Vildmarksvägen you will often see birches and conifers with long yellowish green beard lichens hanging like braids from the branches.

beardmoss

Some trees have so much of them they remind of the "Ents" – the tree-people from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". These so called Tree Beards, which are very endangered in Germany, grow only in areas with very clean air.

Wild flowers

Flower lovers will come into their own from the end of may until mid August, flower1when for instance the Snow Gentian, the Yellow Mountain Violet, Hogweed, Mountain Avens, and the Nigritella-orchid are flowering.

After midsummer whole hills and pastures are coloured red, blue and yellow by the abundant blooming flowers. flower2And those who search for wild herbs, will soon find treasures in the local forests and pastures.

Raspberries

Raspberry bushes can grow up to 2 metres high. They are the forest pioneers that cover hallonclearings, open areas, and forest borders. Around the Vildmarksvägen you will often find raspberries along forest roads, which makes an ideal goal for a family trip.

The red and sweet fruits ripen in late summer to autumn and have been known since ancient times for their medicinal qualities. Raspberries contain, among other things, high amounts of vitamin C and biotin. The leaves can be used for making tea, which is said to ease labour pains.

Blueberries

Blueberries are not loved by bipeds only. Bumblebees and butterflies refresh themselves at the flowers, and elks and deer like the leaves of the low bushes that will colour red in the fall. The berries themselves are on the menu of many birds, and especially of the brown bears.

Blueberry bushes grow generally in open woods, often close to cowberries. As a rule, August is the best time for picking.

There is a danger of confusing them with other berries that look like them (especially the Vaccinium uliginosa), but these are larger and have light coloured fruit pulp instead of blue. However, it is nothing to worry about if these other berries get into the basket too. They can be made into marmalade, cakes and juices as well.

Mushrooms

In the forests of north Sweden countless different sorts of mushrooms can be found. svampWhile mycologists and nature photographers enjoy a picture book fly agaric, cooks will be more interested in ceps and chanterelles.svamp

Ceps grow primarily in mixed woods, and the mountain areas are the best areas to find chanterelles.

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