On 3rd July 2009, local historian Geir Neverdal invited me on a tour to witness first hand the old traditional onion roofs of Gudbrandsdalen near the town of Otta. I had first heard of Geir through the following web site about these very special old turf roofs on which Allium fistulosum / welsh onion / pipeløk had been planted as a protection against fire (the leaves are succulent even in very dry conditions and this Siberian species is extremely hardy and drought tolerant): http://www.otta2000.com/Diverse/Pipeloek/pipeloek.htm. The onions were also traditionally harvested in spring and used in scrambled egg and other dishes.
He had arranged visits to 5 different farms near Otta and Vågå. Two local botanists had also been invited along: Hans Petter Schwencke and Bjørn Engehagen.
One Norwegian botanist thinks that as these roof onions have developed over such a long time in this very special environment that they should be lifted to species level. I suggest Allium gudbrandsdaliensis ;)
Geir also blogged about the tour here http://www.otta2000.com/Diverse/Pipeloek/pipeloek.htm#Prosjektleder_
Below are a series of pictures from these farms: Søre Breden where owners Knut Romsås Breden og Eldri Seim met us; Hole; Nedre Gjetsiden; Nerøygarden (where Ingrid Dokken and her husband met us)and, finally, Sve Gård in Vågå kommune where farmer Harald Bjørndal showed us around. At the bottom is a document in Norwegian which I wrote after the visit. The story of these onions is also told in my book Around the World in 80 plants!