Rare Plants in a Taiga Biome

Written by alicia rudnicki
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Rare Plants in a Taiga Biome
Buttercups are rare in the Yukon taiga. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Taiga (Russian for "forest") is a word widely used for the largest biome in the world, the coniferous or "boreal" forests that cover North America, Europe and Asia. Biomes are areas that are related due to shared ecological systems, climate and geography. Marked by long, snowy winters and short, warm summers, the taiga's most common plants are evergreen trees. Flowering plants are particularly rare in taiga areas.

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Norway: Labrador Tea

The herbal, flowering heath Ledum groenlandicum or "Labrador tea" is rare in Norway, but can be found in its taiga. Clusters of tiny white flowers blossom on its slender stalks. Labrador tea also grows in North America. The North Woods-based website Rook says that its "strongly aromatic" leaves can be made into a tea rich in Vitamin C. It adds that the tea also is used externally as a folk medicine for skin problems. The website Go Norway says Labrador tea can be found in Norway's taiga bogs along with Lapland buttercup, Rusty cottongrass, willows and sedges.

Canada: Lady's Slipper Orchid

Forestry activities have reduced the population of Cypripedium calceolus or "lady's slipper" orchids in Canada's taiga. it is now an endangered species in the province of Manitoba. The website Taiga Rescue notes that the plant's name is a good description for its yellow blossoms. Different colours of lady's slippers can be found in around the world, including in Russia's taiga where a number of rare orchids can be found.

Russia: Helleborine Orchid

The Russian taiga is home to Cephalanthera longifolia, the Helleborine orchid, which has narrow leaves and thin stems on which multiple blossoms of hood-shaped white flowers hang. The orchid can also be found in woodland areas of southern England, Ireland, western Scotland and Wales, according to the website First Nature.

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