Feb. 7, 2017


The last two flowers are circumboreal species.  The circumboreal region is the world's largest floristic region.  It extends around the world in northern latitudes.  It has numerous genera and species that occur nowhere else.  But it is not the most varied of habitats, and has fewer different species than other regions.  For example, Iceland has 470 different species.  My favorite local preserve, Ives Fen, has 798 in just 700 acres.  (Note to my sister.  So few plants, so many bogs!  Stay on the paths while you're there.)  The Wikipedia article on this says the region extends south into New England, Michigan and Minnesota.  It doesn't mention our western mountains.  Certainly the range of many boreal species extends southward in the alpine regions of the Rockies and Sierras.  For example, bearberry grows as far south as the highest elevations in Guatemala.  Global warming is a severe threat to this region.  The picture is St. Mary's Glacier in Colorado.  It has very nearly disappeared.  Will this too soon be great again?