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Soldanella montana - Alpine snowbell (mountain snowbell)

Soldanella montana eli alppikello

The cute little Alpine snowbell is native in the mountains but it thrives also on flatlands. The most crucial prerequisite is sufficient shade. The leaves of the Alpine snowbell are reniform, thick, stiff and evergreen. Conifers provide the best cover especially in spring when deciduous trees are still bare and the sun shines brightly. In sunshine the leaves of the Alpine snowbell become pale and may suffer from brown, dry spots.

In early summer, the flower stems rise from the mound-forming clump of leaves and the lilac-coloured, nodding, fringed flowers open. By the time the seeds ripen the stems will have doubled their height to allow the wind disperse the seeds away from the parent. Also some small ground animals seem to carry the seeds, as new seedlings may rise at quite a distance. In Mustila Arboretum the Alpine snowbells growing on the Pohjoisrinne (Northern slope) have been observed to slowly multiply, while in the Macedonian pine (Pinus peuce) stand their population has remained more or less stable. This difference may be explained by provenance, as the Alpine snowbells in Pohjoisrinne (Northern slope) are fairly young, from the 1990s, from seeds collected by the amateur botanist Kaj Friman who brought and planted them to Mustila from his travels. It has often been noticed in Mustila that natural provenances collected from the correct climactic conditions thrive better than traditional West European garden cultivars.


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