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Edible wild plant use in the Faroe Islands and Iceland
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies.
2012 (English)In: Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, ISSN 0001-6977, Vol. 81, no 4, 233-238 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper reviews the use of wild edible plants in the Faroe Islands and Iceland from the times of the first settlement of Norse people in the Viking age until today, with a special emphasis on the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Animal products have been an important source of nutrients for the islanders of northern Atlantic. Cultivation of cereals on the other hand has played a minor role, and had already been abandoned by late medieval times in Iceland and by the early 20th century on the Faroes. Crops such as potatoes, turnips and other roots were only grown in the small patches of cultivated soil. Wild plants have therefore been of some importance for the Faroese people and the Icelanders; in the last centuries especially for the rural poor and during times of recessions. The native Angelica archangelica L. was gathered in the wild and also cultivated in gardens for centuries. A few species have been part of the regular food staple. Some plants are still gathered and made into food products by small companies, especially in Iceland. In the Faroes, the economic aspect of edible wild plant taxa is mostly of historical interest, although a few products of A. archangelica are sometimes available. Two taxa have been exploited as regular food exclusively in Iceland: Cetraria islandica (L.) Arch. and Elymus arenarius L. Icelanders have used C. islandica from the early settlement days and continue to do so today, E. arenarius became obsolete as a food plant a century ago.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 81, no 4, 233-238 p.
Keyword [en]
wild food plants, algae, lichens
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-193714DOI: 10.5586/asbp.2012.035ISI: 000312895300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-193714DiVA: diva2:603525
Available from: 2013-02-06 Created: 2013-02-06 Last updated: 2013-02-06Bibliographically approved

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Svanberg, Ingvar
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Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies
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