www.FinlandNature.com by Stephen Mifsud Slideshow

Sky colours

Welcome to the Nature of Finland

[Introduction]     [Interpretation]     [Site Contents]     [Explored areas]     [Important findings]
    [Bibliography]     [Author's Websites]     [Author's publications]     [Contacts]
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Last Update: 21 Aug 2016.

Hi, my name is Stephen Mifsud, Maltese, born in April 1974, married to a Finnish wife from Bennäs (Finland) and father of Miranda Linnea (2006) and Martyn Thor (2009). I have studied botany and plant taxonomy at the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh and read a Masters Diploma at the University of Malta.

Since 2002, I have been coming over Bennäs for few weeks in Summer to visit my wife's relatives. Being a naturalist, web designer and earning money from botanical work with the Maltese Environment Sector as well some income form guided nature touring, I soon got interested to study the flora that grows in the wild here in Finland. In 2006 I decided to start a small project as a hobby during my stay in Finland - a website dedicated to the nature of Finland - www.FinlandNature.com.

Initially it was named OstrobothniaNature.com but that name was too long and difficult to remember. Every year I update this website with new species and photos and so far I am receiving encouraging feedback to continue. Now there are almost 20,000 photos of wild plants, mushrooms, mosses and other living organisms found here in Finland, and there about 500 species of plants and 100 of fungi. I wish to thank Mr. Alan Outen, Thomas Mariani and Daniele Bolognini for helping in the identification of some mushrooms.

How to interpret this website
Despite the generic name Nature of Finland, this website mostly illustrates species from a small area in the Middle West of this large country. This area is known Ostrobothnia, and most exploration took place in the communities of Larsmo and Pedersore. The chosen species in this website are those found in the wild, and by this it is meant either native species which grew in Finland before man, or naturalised / alien species which were introduced by man, abandoned and grow by themselves year after year without the care of man. For instance, the website does not display ornamental, garden or house plants, unless specimens of such plants were found in the wild.

Since botany is my profession, the vascular plants in this website are identified correctly and the nomenclature is reliable. However, this website displays a number animals (including insects), moss, fungi (mushrooms) and lichens. For these, the identification is either not 100% reliable or not identified. For this reason, you can help this website by suggesting scientific names or corrections to species you know their name. The website should be considered mostly as a graphical project for the moment, and because the lack of computing/literature research, the data given is only the latin, english and swedish names of the plant species, and their family.

Contents of this website
FinlandNature.com is basically a photogallery of several species of organisms taken in Ostrobothnia, as described in the next chapter. The Main page is divided into specific photos of the main ecological habitats of Finland and 4 main Nature galleries:
  1. Flora (Vascular plants)
  2. Mosses and Lichens (Lower plants)
  3. Fungi
  4. Fauna
 The Flora section is the most detailed and comprehensive gallery with more than 350 species illustrated by almost 4000 images! The Flora section is also the only one where species are sorted either alphabetical order (by their species name) or sorted according to their Botanical Family. The botanical / scientific, Swedish and English name is given for each species. The navigation is straight forward but for more details, you can check the help file. Click the link below or any of the images on the right to enter the website.

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Exploration sites and habitats
Here in Finland, I stay mostly in two residences, my wife's parents home in Bennäs (Pedersore) and the Summer Cottage in Gloskaret (Larsmo). For this reason, most nature exploration are based in these 2 loci. However, there are occasional trips to more distant villages and cities, namely Kokkola, Tampere, Kemi, and also Rovaniemi, though except for Tampere, explorations in these sites was a bare minimum. Below is a list of sites which I explored and from which most of the content of this website is based.

  • Bennäs (+++)
  • Lovo (+++)
  • Faboda (++)
  • Jakobstad (+)
  • Munsala (-)
  • Jeppo (+)
  • Esse (-)
  • Larsmo NorraLarsmovagen / SodraLarsmovagen (+++)
  • Larsmo Nature Track (+)
  • Gloskaret and the its vicinities (+++)
  • Tampere (++)
  • Rovaniemi (+)
  • Oulu (+)
  • StorSand (+)
  • Kemi (-)
  • Kokkola (-)
  • Vasa (-)
  • Bjorko (Replot/Vasa) (+)
Legend: (+++) Explored very often;    (++) Explored for a moderate time;    (+) Explored not more than 2 times and/or in a very restricted area;    (-) Explored shortly (spot visits) once or twice only
 The ecological habitats explored are roadsides and road ditches; river, rivulets and lake shores; forests; forests swamps; rocky sea shores; sandy sea shores; abandoned fields; water vegetation (plants living in or on water) and cosmopolitan places. My favourite sites are the swamps and lake/river shores. So from this paragraph, one could have an idea on what type of habitats and geographical regions the species of this website is based. For instance, it will lack the Orchids and warm-loving plants of South Finland and Aland islands, or the mountain-vegetation growing in the Arctic region of Finland. Apart the limitation of space, one should also consider the limitation of time, because my visits are based between July to mid August, and species that do not flower in this period cannot be found during my explorations.

Important findings
Due to the short time in Finland and lack of scientific sources and contacts, I have very limited literature research. However, some of the guide books I use (see bibliography below) have a distribution maps which serve as good guidance about the distribution of the species in Scandinavia. For the benefit of local scientists, I will write what I consider important findings of plants in Ostrobothnia and other parts of Finland.

1) Jul 2008 - Platanthera bifolia subsp. latifolia (Skog Nattsviol)
I went to visit for a short while the Chrome mines of Kemi, and in the street/forest ditches close to the mines, there were a couple of specimens. The distribution of the plant is mostly South, but there are few locations marked in the north. It is quite common also in most of Sweden. Being an Orchid, it is somehow quite important to mention such a finding.

2) Jul 2009 - Cardaminopsis arenosa (Sandtrav)
Specimens were found at Bennäs Railway Station. This plant has a rather restricted and patchy distribution in Finland, and is quite rare to find. It is much more common in Sweden.

3) Jul 2010 - Symphytum tuberosum (Gul vallört)
Newspaper Cutting (Osterbottens Tidning 1-Aug-2010) Few specimens in two spots were discovered at the forest ditch in NorraLarsmoVagen, Larsmo. This is a very interesting find because the guide books say that the species is only found in few localities in South of Sweden and Denmark. This was reported in a local newspaper, and feedback received resulted that there is a slight possibility that this could be one of the plants that were randomly sown in a nearby parallel ditch in the same area. Larsmo community doubt that this was one of the plants they chose for the sowing program. Apparently there is no log-book of what have been sown, and the status of this finding remains uncertain, though the habitat of the species matches with that where the plant in Larsmo was found - forest margins or shaded forest clearings. In any case, the plants are growing on their own in the wild, and since their status is not verified, they should be protected for conservation purposes. Kindly email me if it happens to know more information about this species. This news has been published on the Österbottens Tidning of Sunday 1st August 2010, click the next links to read full article. [Newspaper 1]   [Newspaper 2]
Newspaper cutting (Osterbottens Tidning 1-Aug-2010)

4) Jul 2011 - Jasione montana (Blåmunkar), Viscaria vulgaris (Tjärblomster), Centaurea jacea (Rödklint) and Verbascum thapsus (Kungsljus)
All these species were found in the wide ditch of NorraLarsmoVagen, Larsmo. These are very likely to be survivors of the sowing program by Larsmo community in the wide ditch (refer to point 3 above). Nevertheless they are quite rare plants for this area of Ostrobothnia, especially Jasione montanum which is located only in the South and South East of Finland and Southern Norway and Sweden.

5) Jul 2011 - Melampyrum nemprosum (Natt och dag)
This species is barely found in South of Finland, and have never been reported from Ostrobottnia. So far, this is the northern-most record for Finland according to VäxtAtlas

6) Jul 2011 - Linaria repens (Strimsporre)
Five plants were found in in gravel-soil near Bennas train station on the 28th of July 2011 and their discovery is important both because the species is very rare in Finland (few populations restricted to the south) and more importantly, according to it is the first record for Ostrobottnia.

7) Jul 2011 - Senecio sylvaticus (Bergkorsört)
This species is distributed in South Finland, and only very few records are from Ostrobottnia, A population was found in Bennas, close to the railway station

8) Jul 2011 - Rumex obtusifolius subsp. sylvestris (Tomtskräppa),
Few specimens were found close to Hikaro beach, Larsmo/Kokkola while a larger group of specimens were spotted in the what-so-called 'fun islands' in Oulu. Since the fruit lack distinct teeth, plants of both populations are attributed to subsp. sylvaticus

9) Jul 2011 - Hyoscyamus niger (Bolmört),
Two specimens were found together with my friend Harald Holmstrom in the harbour of Sveaborg, Helsinki. This is a declining and rare species for Finland, restricted to the Southern Parts.

10) Jul 2011 - Stellaria fennica (Finnstjärnblomma)
A rare subendemic species that is confined to the North-Eastern part of Finland as well in Norrbotten (Sweden) and North-West Russia. It is closely related to kärrstjärnblomma (Stellaria palustre) but the latter does not have leaves and stem margins with tiny saw-like teeth. A population was found in Bennas, along a forest margin close to the railway.

11) Jul 2011 - Salicornia europaea (Glassort)
One population was found and referred to me by Birthe Wistbacka from Hällan, while a second population with better and larger specimens was found later found by me when I explored this area on 25th July 2011. This second population was shown to Birthe on the 14th August 2011.

The following books have helped me for identification, names and other source of information about the plant species present this website.

  1. Bo Mossberg & Lennart Stenberg (2003 ) - Den nya Nordiska Floran, Stockholm
  2. Tutin et al (1993, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980) - Flora Europaea Vol I(rev2), II, III, IV & V, Cambridge, UK
  3. Tom Cope & Alan Gray (2009) - Grasses of the British Isles, UK
  4. Mogen Skytte Christiansen, Edward Krusenstjerna & Mats Waern (1976) - Itiökasvit värikuvina, Helsinki.
  5. Ivar Elvers (1981) - Gräsflora i färg, Uppsala.
  6. Bo Nylen (1993) - Suomen Ja Pohjolan Kasvit, Helsinki.

Other Websites by the Author
Check other website that I have created related to Nature

At the moment you can contact me by any of the emails below. You can write in Swedish or English. Please indicate if you require a reply in Swedish, but it would be perfect if you can read English! So far the website does not contain a guest book, but you can still email your feedback about this website, whether you like it or any constructive criticism. You should also contact me if you think there are wrong names, or you know the name of unidentified species. Donations are welcomed, and this can be done through paypal paying to the address marz/@/nextgen.net.mt (remove slashes)

Finsk Nackros (Nymphaea tetragona)
Jungfru Nycklar / Dactylorhiza maculata s.l.
Nattviol / Platanthera bifolia
Lichen mator
Tall Skog
Amanita muscaria
Lake shore

| Last update: 10/08/2010 | Wild Plants of the Maltese Islands | Nature Tours and Walks in Malta | Churches and Chapels in Gozo