The county flower lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily-of-the-valley was chosen as Østfold’s county flower by the county’s chief administrative officer’s environmental protection department and Østfold’s botanical association.
Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) is a member of the lily family. It usually has two broad, lancet shaped leaves and an approximately 20 cm tall, leafless stem with bell shaped white flowers all hanging down on the same side, and later reddish yellow, poisonous berries. It is a common spring plant in Norway and can be found as far north as Rana. The plant contains glycosides which have a heart stimulating effect (source: Store Norske Leksikon).
As well as the county flower, each of the municipalities in Østfold has been assigned a municipal flower. The aim of this is to focus on the value inherent in maintaining a rich and varied flora.
The municipal flowers will hopefully become an environmental symbol for each of the municipalities. They can also help to draw people’s attention to the richness of Østfold’s flora. Østfold’s flora is an important part of our natural heritage which must be passed on to future generations.
Østfold’s rich flora
Østfold has a rich flora. The county is home to around 1,000 wild growing species of flowering plant. Many places are known for the diversity of their flora, such as Arekilen and Akerøya in Hvaler, Eløya in Rygge, Jeløya and the shell covered sandbanks in Rakkestad.
Most of the plant species have evolved to cope with our climate. Many species have become less common for a variety of reasons. Østfold’s flora also contains some species which have arrived here in unusual ways, e.g. via refuse pits and docks (ballast flora).
Why was lily-of-the-valley chosen as the county flower?
When the county flowers were being chosen some time ago, one had to base one’s choice on the following criteria:
• People should easily be able to recognise the species
• The species should have good links to the county
• No two counties should have the same county flower
Many species could therefore have been chosen as Østfold’s county flower, such as white anemone. However, this flower had been chosen by another county. Lilly-of-the-valley was chosen instead because it can be found throughout the county and is a flower known to all.