In the high mountains of Scotland, above 750m altitude, in areas where snow can lie late into the year, strong winds and snow cover influence what species can survive. Small hardy herbaceous plants, ferns, mosses, liverworts and bryophtyes form a community able to withstand these severe conditions. This habitat is vulnerable to physical damage from trampling, skiing and all terrain vehicles.
Close up of flower head of Artemisia norvegica, and stunning mountain scenery from the site in NW Highlands.
Artemisia norvegica is an example of a species confined to this type of habitat in Scotland. Although widespread in northern Europe it is found on only two mountains in Scotland.
Scientists at RBGE are studying some of the lichen species that live in this habitat to monitor the effects of climate change.