Tag Archives: Matteuccia struthiopteris

Status of the Granvin victory onion location

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations, possibly a Viking introduction there which has subsequently spread).  It’s also found in a damp woodland (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven (the Granvin river) in south west Norway (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10658). It is suggested that the onion came to Granvin by way of the so-called Jektefart (a trade route based on dried fish from Lofoten to western Norway), was planted in a garden close to the site, subsequently naturalising from there!

Naturalised locations of Allium victorialis in Norway showing the isolated Granvin site (the location near Oslo is probably extinct

In late October 2014, there was a major flood in western Norway (https://nn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberflaumen_i_2014) which caused a lot of damage including in Granvin. Over 200mm rain was recorded over 3 days in several places and up to 330mm! Although not a record, it had already rained a lot for most of October and the ground was already saturated when the worst rain happened…leading to a totally unexpected extreme event.

I heard rumours that the victory onion location had been severely impacted by this event, so when we drove past Granvin on the way back from the Nordic Permaculture Festival in Jondal, I took the opportunity to visit the location! This confirmed that the site is much reduced and there is visible signs of erosion including a dried up channel through the middle of the wooded island where the onion is found (the river was very low due to the drought). In addition, I was surprised to find that a path had been constructed between the river and the school. This is part of a major civil engineering work in Granvin to protect the low lying inhabited areas from flooding (see https://www.nve.no/nytt-fra-nve/nyheter-skred-og-vassdrag/granvin-har-fatt-betre-tryggleik-mot-flaum )
A video showing the completed works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keg-BSrAi94 shows aerial views of “victory onion island” between 0:56 – 1:24!
These works may lead to further erosion and destruction of the island….
Seeds were actually already ripe due to the hot summer and I therefore collected seed to safeguard the Granvin onion to be offered to Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our autumn catalogue which will be produced in October!
From my friend Geir Flatabø: “Jaunssen Gjestgjevarstad (Jaunssen Guest House) in Granvin has begun to harvest / use the onion, and makes pesto served to guests, with good feedback.”

Other relevant articles:
Hagetidend (Norwegian gardening magazine) profile http://www.edimentals.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/6_Seiersl%C3%B8k_fra_Vestv%C3%A5g%C3%B8y.pdf

A report from my 2009 “onion safari” to Lofoten, Tromsø and Granvin can be found here (in Norwegian with English comments)  http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18527 (some of this material ended up in my book Around the World in 80 plants))

Homla walk May 2018

Pictures from this week’s 5 hour (botanist pace) walk along the spectacular Homla canyon, the start about 14 km from home!

Homla walk 2nd June 2017

Another magical walk along the Homla Canyon in Malvik in the company of wwoofer of the week :)  First, a parade of Ostrich Ferns along the bank of the Homla river

A dipper (fossekall), Norway’s national bird flew past us singing as it flew and landed conveniently on some rocks 50m upstream:

 

16 days later

The rate of growth of Udo (Aralia cordata) from Japan is phenomenal in cool spring weather, even outgrowing Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach)!
The first picture was taken by Christian Odberger during my permaveggies course and just two weeks later the plant is taller than me! The view is or less the same and the apple tree at the back is now in full bloom! The fern is ostrich fern.

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My garden helper Lorna from Belfast!

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Bonus Day 4 Permaveggies grafting course

It wasn’t planned at all (the best things aren’t), but our Swedish guests Christian Odberger and Dante Hellstrøm stayed over until Monday evening to dig up a few (!) must-have plants from my garden. Our “camper” Berit  Børte also accepted the offer to stay over until Monday.  Christian had brought grafting material with him and kindly volunteered to do a grafting course for us, so here are the pictures of Christian, Berit and my garden helper Lorna from Belfast grafting some 6 varieties of apple on to a wild apple tree, the seeds of which I collected at Warsash (on the solent), Hampshire UK some 13-14 years ago!! AND it was a beautiful afternoon too! See also http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=4617

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Lorna taking notes next to my Udo (you can almost see it grow at this time of year!) and ostrich ferns
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We discovered that Rheum palmatum, ornamental rhubarb, has a pleasant taste, less acid than common rhubarb!
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Udo and ostrich fern

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Permaveggies Course Day 3: Ostrich fern tour along the Homla

As usual, the highlight of these weekends is the incredible walk along the river Homla just 20 minutes from home with large quantities of Ostrich Fern along the way, truly one of Norway’s most beautiful plants and also most delicious!!

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Storfossen (literally large waterfall!), the second highest waterfall at 40m in our region (Trøndelag). There’s a total fall of 80m in 3 waterfalls. If you’re lucky you can see salmon trying to climb the lowest of the 3!
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Participants showering in the drizzle from the waterfall stood in awe of this wonderfull sight, so close to Trondheim, but hardly known! We saw only a handful of other people on the trail in 4 hours!

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We found a few fungi. This is Fomitopsis pinicola / rødrandkjuke

Basidioradulum radula (Tannsopp), earlier classified with the Hedgehog fungi!

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Christian thinking about going for a swim?

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Happy participants, HIGH on nature and wild food!
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Happy participants, HIGH on nature and wild food!
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This dandelion was collected as it had a good mild taste!
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Ostrich fern / Strutseving
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Ostrich fern / Strutseving
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One of the confusion species that shouldn’t be eaten! With Anemone nemerosa (wood anemone / hvitveis) and Chrysosplenium alternifolium (Golden saxifrage/maigull)
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Roof garden!

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There’s a lot of up and downs along the 4 hour walk (with stops) from Storfossen to Hommelvik!

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Everyone stopped in awe again at this beautiful rich stand of ostrich ferns which had come much further than in the cold air by the river
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We found this Swede communing with the ferns
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…Berit had a go too…next year we will have a group ostrich fern hug I think!

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Hidden among the ferns are other edibles like nettle / nesle and giant bellflower (Campanula latifolia)

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Fomitopsis pinicola / rødrandkjuke

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The field horsetail/ common horsetail / kjerringrokk / (Equisetum arvense) is another sign of spring. The plant is known as sugina (杉菜) in Japanese, literally “cryptomeria vegetable”, possibly from the appearance of the green stems. The fertile stems at the stage shown are known as tsukushi (土筆). The ideograms literally mean “soil brush”, based on their shape. A common foraged vegetable in spring!! DON’T plant it in your garden, it is one of the most invasive plants on open land! BUT, one shouldn’t use large amounts…this is a spring vegetable used in a short period in spring!!
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Knuskkjuke (Fomes fomentarius) is the tinder fungus used to start a fire!
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Upon returning home we made a green pasta sauce with ostrich ferns (cooked for 15 minutes), Hablitzia shoots, Norrlands onion (see my book) for all 3), soaked dried chantarelles, organic tomatoes, garlic, chili, seasoned with cuban oregano, bay leaves and served over a choice of hemp pasta and emmer wheat pasta from Etikken in Trondheim!

 

 

 

Forced ostrich wings…

The Norwegian name for ostrich fern is strutseving (ostrich wing) and fiddleheads are now appearing in my kitchen window, two months before they will be out in the garden. It’s easy to dig up some roots of this spreading species in the autumn. I left them outside in these pots until about a month ago. I’m leaving these first relatively small fiddleheads to grow, so as not to kill the roots (they will be planted back in the garden to recover). P1520721 P1520719