- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
174

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
with no chance of finding a single mound from which
to get a view over the forest-clad plain. Otherwise it
was not very different from a forest at home, and one
was apt to forget that wc were still far north, somewhere
about the Arctic Circle, or a little to the south of the
latitude of Bodo ; we were just in latitude 66j° N.
There were many birches and few large coniferous
trees to be seen, though smaller ones were shooting up
everywhere among the birches. There was spruce,
very like our spruce, but with smoother bark on the
young branches ; there was also larch, and a luxuriant
green tree very like a fir, with long needles, like those
of the New Jersey scrub pine. This was the so-called
Siberian cedar, which is really a sort of fir (pinus
cembra). It is highly prized among the natives, because
the seed of the cones is small nuts, cedar nuts, which
are good to eat, and farther south great quantities of
them are gathered every autumn ; but as it is rather
troublesome to climb up the trees, it appears to be usual
to cut them down in order to gather the nuts, and then
let them lic. As I said before, timber is of no value here.
These are the nuts that are brought by the Russians in
large quantities to places in Finmark, and are there
called Russian nuts.
Of these varieties we here and there came upon single
trees of the size of a good big timber spruce at home. These
were no doubt the remains of a forest of larger trees that
had once been here, but had probably been burnt. Other
wise there was almost nothing but small trees, with
patches of bog here and there ; we saw some alders, and
a kind of sallow now and then among the birches.
As we went back towards the house we saw some
wild briar bushes with red hips. There was rank high
grass in some places and all kinds of herbs. Cloud
berries were also said to be common, but they had no
174

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