Gieravardo, the flower mountain

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Walking the path leads through a luxuriant birch forest with alpine blue-sow thistle, monk’s-hood and wood millet as tall as a man. No wonder why this is called the flower mountain.

Gieravardo’s bedrock is formed largely of limestone, which produces a stunning flora including a number of orchids. Gieravardo consists of two small summits, the northern one with a TV mast and meteorological station also known as Skorvfjället. From Portbron the path leads through a luxuriant birch forest with alpine blue-sow thistle, monk’s-hood and wood millet as tall as a man. True-love, forget-me-nots and many varieties of fern are common in the bottom vegetation. Bird cherry and rowan light up with their white sprays in the early summer. Nearest to the ground the coralroot orchid grows. The pale coralroot orchid is saprophytic, i.e. it lacks chlorophyll and lives among fungi. Higher up the forest comes to an end and the path joins up with a wider road. A small stand of the rare Lapland marsh orchid grows here, a dark relative of the common heath spotted orchid. Gieravardo is a mountain rich in species, full of variety and dominated by various calcareous slates, but here and there more acidic rock types break through. Osiery is succeeded by mountain avens and crowberry moors. The species that grow on the low southern summit with its precipices, boulders and crevices include purple, tufted and yellow Saxifrage, Teesdale sandwort, alpine rock-cress and many others.

Other somewhat unusual mountain flowers are rock speedwell and arctic sandwort. The big deep blue flowers and red iris of the rock speedwell make it one of the mountain’s most beautiful flowers. Alpine gentian grows in the vicinity. Its deep blue flowers shoot forth only when the temperature rises above +10º C. When a cloud obscures the sun the flower can fold up rapidly and become invisible. On a cold northwest precipice it is common to find diapensia blooming in late summer

Guided tours some weeks during the summer by the Botanical Garden.

Length: 4-6 km return trip to the Skorvfjället
Elevation change: 300 m
Level of difficulty: Blue (4 km/hour, path, mostly dry terrain)

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