The vascular flora of Svalbard consists of about 165 species, which is a rather high number for an archipelago so far to the north. The flora of the biggest island, Spitsbergen, is quite well known, especially the interior parts around Isfjorden and the valleys north of Van Mijen fjorden are well documented. The areas surrounding Ny-Ålesund on the west coast are also systematically mapped. From the vast areas both on the west, north and especially the east coast of Spitsbergen, however, we have only scattered observations. The big islands Edgeøya and Barentsøya east of Spitsbergen are poorly mapped. This is also the case for the northernmost of the big islands, Nordaustlandet, although there are quite good records from some fiords at the northwest coast of this island.
Hence our knowledge of the distribution of species on the total archipelago is far from complete. New species have been discovered as late as in 2002, and new populations of rare species are regularly encountered.
About the maps
We here present record maps of the vascular plants native in Svalbard. We also present maps for some introduced species that seem to have established populations.
The data are compiled from various sources. Most important are the herbaria of the University Museums in Oslo, Tromsø, Trondheim and Bergen. Other data sources are field notes recorded during several surveys carried out in Spitsbergen and Prins Karls Forland. It is evident that more data are available. We hope this web-page will encourage to submission of data.
The record maps presented here connected to each species are based on the georeferencing done by the collector or by staff at the University Museums interpreting the available information from the collector. With few exceptions the georeferencing is done by using printed maps with UTM grid (MGRS). This way of georeferencing delimits a rectangle or square, and the dots presented on our maps indicate the center point of these. Very poorly georeferenced data refer to rather large areas, and such data have been removed from the maps. Although the georeferencing has been through several quality controls, there may still be errors. If you discover any errors, we would appreciate if you let us know by sending us an e-mail.
We will also point out that the maps do not intend to display the actual distribution of the species. They represent the known records of the species. Common species may often have a larger distribution area than our maps indicate as people tend to not report their occurences. Also, distribution of rare species may be larger as so many areas are poorly investigated. We appreciate any reports of new records of plant occurrences that will improve the maps.
- Museum of Natural History (Oslo)
- Tromsø University Museum
- Museum of Natural History and Archaeology (Trondheim)
- Bergen Museum
Fieldnotes and other data compilations
- Arve Elvebakk 1989 - Termophilous species in Svalbard - Unpublished dissertation for the Dr. scient degree. This dissertation contains a rather complete dataset of the most thermophilous species in Svalbard. The data are gathered from the Norwegian University Museums but also older publications and Museums abroad. We have extracted the data not covered by other primary sources included in this project.
- Arve Elvebakk and Ingvar Brattbakk 1988 - Mapping around Kongsfjorden and Brøggerhalvøya at the west coast of Spitsbergen. The data are georeferenced to UTM square kilometer grids.
- Arve Elvebakk and Eli Robertsen 1994 - Mapping of the northermost part of Prins Karls Forland. The data are georeferenced to UTM square kilometer grids.
- Arve Elvebakk, Jarle Werner Bjerke, Ellen Elverland, Lennart Nilsen, Daniel Joly 2001 and 2002 - Mapping of the flora around Inner Wijdefjorden.
- Arve Elvebakk 1988 - Mapping of Agardhdalen on the east coast of Spitsbergen. The data are georeferenced to UTM square kilometer grids.
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1983 - Mapping of Bear Island
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1985 - Mapping of Gipsdalen in the interior part of Isfjorden
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1985-1986 - Mapping of Reindalen north of Van Mijenfjorden.
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1986 - Mapping of middle and upper Adventdalen in the interior part of Isfjorden.
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1986 - Mapping of Berzeliusdalen north of Van Mijenfjorden.
- Torstein Engelskjøn 1987 - Mapping of Eskerdalen in the interior of Spitsbergen Island.
- The Botanical society of Northern Norway 2002 - Mapping of the eastern side of Colesdalen, south of Isfjorden.
Photos of plant species and vegetation
We hope this web page will inspire you to take a lot of nice photos of Svalbards vascular plant species. If you like your pictures to be evaluated for publication on this web-pages, feel free to submit pictures to our e-mail. We need not only pictures of the most colourful flowers, but also of grasses and sedges. To aid in identification of species, photos of different details are needed. Also, some photos showing the surroundings are required to give an impression of the habitat.
Names used in this flora
The Latin names used in this flora follow the PanArctic-Flora (PAF) project. PAF represent the most comprehensive taxonomic revision of the arctic flora made by expert from all arctic nations. These names are sometimes deviating from the book “Svalbards Flora” by Rønning 1996 and also from the checklist “A catalogue of Svalbards plants, fungi, algae, and cyanobacteria. Part 1 Vascular plants” by Elven and Elvebakk 1996. We provide synonyms to clear this confusion. English, Norwegian and German names are also given for most species.
We plan to include a key for determination of species. Also, a short description of the species will come but it may take some time. Meanwhile, we suggest checking “Den Virtuelle Floran”, http://linnaeus.nrm.se/flora/, for descriptions of Svalbard species also found in Scandinavia. Information about the seed production, germinable seed bank, genetic variation etc. for those species were such information exists, will also be added.