In Jokkmokk, you find another great museum, Ájtte. Ájtte in English means some type of storage building. Ájtte is one of the premier storage houses of the Saami culture in Sweden. They are also responsible for an alpine garden.
My mother loves plants, cactuses, flowers, you name it. Angelo’s mother loved her garden. Elvis’ mother must have loved the roses as he sang “Mama Liked the Roses”. You would think only grown up women would be interested in a botanical garden. How wrong could I have been.
Angelo and I had to wait a few minutes before our guide, Ms. Anneli Näsvall, could help us. She was busy giving instructions to three young men in their mid-twenties dying to know more about the plants of Jokkmokk. These young men enthusiastically studied the plants the whole time we were in the garden.
Carl von Linné was also only 25 years old when he in 1732 made his tour of the north, penning down the first scientific knowledge of the flora above the Arctic Circle. This work was part of Linnés inspirational journey that led to the taxonomy system he created later that century. A system that is important to this day.
Anneli guided us to the Angelica archangelica – Kvanne in Swedish. She said Carl von Linné had a particular love for this useful plant. A valuable plant for a least three reasons.
It made Linné warm and feel-good. He noticed the Saami people were in good shape. He believed the Angelica contributed to this. Their and his endurance increased with the Angelican help. The plant makes your blood circulate better and transport more oxygen.
The plant was an important part of the Saami household for fun as well. It was a favorite among the younger members of the family. The Angelica pops up early in the spring and the licorice taste made it candy for the kids after a long winter.
The Angelica also served as a remedy for illness. In fact, such was its reputation that it was a major export product of the north. The French aristocrats believed it helped against a number of things ranging from common colds to the occasional plague.
A lot of times, at home, away or travelling, one should stop and smell the roses. The old saying: Do not worry, do not hurry, and enjoy your short visit. Even more so, maybe it is time to stop and smell the Kvannes of the world.
What is your favorite plant?
Carl von Linné’s Passion for the Angelica Archangelica