Wetlands of Iceland

In the wetlands, you commonly find a mixture of sedges, cottongrass and moss. Wetlands in Iceland may be divided into wetter and drier types, the wetter fens and the drier marshes. Fens are very wet and remain submerged in shallow water during at least a part of the year. Fens are characterized by cottongrasses, especially, Common Cottongrass (Eriophorum angustifolium) and sedges such as Lyngbye’s Sedge (Carex lyngbyei), Common Sedge (Carex nigra), Beaked Sedge (Carex rostrata) and String Sedge (Carex chordorrhiza).

A marsh is the drier type of wetland, where the vegetation is seldom submerged and often has better drainage due to a slight inclination of the land. Marshes are common in all parts of Iceland including montane areas, where Bigelow's Sedge (Carex bigelowii) and willows predominate. Wetland patches with rushes are also common. The diversity of species in marshes surpasses that of fen vegetation.

While sedges, horsetails, grasses and shrubs thrive in marshes, the flowers of herbs such as the Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia palustris) and Marsh Violet (Viola palustris) add to the beauty of the vegetation. Lush wetlands also exist in the central highlands close to major rivers. Here productive wetland oasis are dominated by graminoids, sedges, deciduous willows and Bog Bilberry (Vaccinium uliginosum) shrubs among patches of wetland mosses and lichens.



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