Any new Saxifrages in Prague? Of course, this traditional Czech exhibition the
first week of April 2009 was full of surprise and hot news!

France and Italy are renowned for their exquisite cuisine often based on very exclusive raw material. For saxifrage enthusiasts the Inuit kitchen must be a revelation, using the finest of raw material. If you are tempted to try any of these dishes you have to prepare yourselves to invite a big bunch of guests because
some of the ingredients come in very large units.
In 2007 the National Research Council of Canada published their “Flora Of TheCanadian Arctic Archipelago” in a CD-ROM version. In their descriptions of the species they have also included traditions indigenous people have in their use of
local flora. We find saxifrages have been used as drink, food, remedy, or have filled other purposes.

During the last couple of decades, the small, arctic-alpine Saxifraga rivularis L. (Fig. 1, 3) has been studied using molecular markers in order to learn more about its origin, genetic variation and distinctiveness. The results have indicated where it may have had its refugia during the last glaciation, and how it has reached its current distribution. Many researchers have been involved, and several international papers have been published. Here, I summarize some of what we now know about this rather anonymous, but quite remarkable little herb.

Although relatively close to the well known mountains of Greece and the Balkans, Romania has a flora that is little known outside its borders. This fact is obvious from the small number of references in literature to Romanian species and botanically rich areas. The Carpathian Mountains form a sort of fortress with Transylvania in the middle. This is not just the homeland of Dracula but also the home of 23 species of Saxifraga plus one natural hybrid. On the walls of this fortress saxifrages lead a thriving existence. If you visit this country, any of the peaks rising over 2000 m should host a good selection of the native species.

Tromsø Geophysical and Climatic facts.

Located at almost 70 degrees North, corresponding to a latitude similar to the North Shore of Alaska, Tromsø's location might invite thoughts of an extreme arctic climate. However, a branch of the Gulf Stream provides the coastal areas of Norway, including North Norway, with a moderating influence, giving rise to a climate which in Tromsø, with its proximity to the outer coastline, results in relatively mild winters (average January temperature being minus 4.4 degrees Centigrade) and relatively cool summers (average July temperature being plus 11.8 degrees Centigrade). Precipitation is moderate with a January average of 95 millimetres and a July average of 77 millimetres. However, there is great variation from year to year: the driest July during the last 30 years saw only 2 millimetres of rain, while the wettest had 175 millimetres. In this era of speculation about climatic changes, it might be of interest to note that the only meteorological parameter which has significantly changed over the last 30 years in Tromsø is accumulated depth of snow, showing that there have been fewer days of winter temperatures above freezing. This culminated in the winter of 1997 with a record 240cm of snow on the ground on May 1st. This, I hasten to add, is exceptional.