Gathering wild plants in Greenland


The Nordic Gene Bank is in Greenland, collecting grass and medicinal plants threatened by climate change and pollution.

The first part of the project concentrated on the fertile areas furthest south on the west coast, where seeds from 10 to 15 different species of grass were collected. In total, the group in Greenland has collected over 180 different seeds and living plants.

In several parts of Greenland, sheep graze on much plants, so the team has had to seek out places sheep can’t reach. This has meant a lot of physical exercise, the expedition’s members say.

They’ve also collected Greenland rhubarb, which has grown for centuries at a former Moravian monastery in the far south of Greenland.

In Inuit, what Canadians call rhubarb is know as ‘kuannuussat’, which means ‘the angelica-like plant.’ Greenland’s rhubarb is said to have arrived in the country in the 1700s along with some German monks and now flourishes in many gardens in the south of the country with potatoes, radishes and turnips.

The Gene Bank plans to preserve and, where appropriate, cultivate the seeds and living plants gathered during the expedition.

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