The last plant (woolly willow) in my last post got me to thinking about other woolly Icelandic things. Like sheep, and grass.

Sheep are everywhere. On-line travel guides will warn of common road hazards, like sudden changes from asphalt to gravel, or one-lane bridges, or fords (not Fords), but they don’t always mention this common cause of sudden braking:

Sheep are as common in Iceland as functional fences aren’t. Mostly bred for meat, this breed of sheep’s double coat yields two different types of wool, which are spun together to form lopi, from which the traditional sweaters (lopapeysa) are knitted. These sweaters are itchy but incredibly warm. After two trips to Iceland I own more of them than I care to admit.

Note how bright the sky is in that photo. It was around 9:30 pm when I shot it, and it’s an accurate exposure.


As for grasses, there are a lot of grass and sedge species in Iceland, but this one is really eye-catching. It’s Eriophorum angustifolium, common cottongrass (Icelandic klófífa). It’s actually a sedge. (Some day I will write about the difference between sedges and grasses.) I saw another cottongrass, E. scheuchzeri, but never got any good pictures of it. Both are very common in wetlands all over Iceland.