Oplopanax horridus - devil’s club or walking-stick

Devil’s club is a species of the temperate rain forests of the North American west coast, where it grows in the shade of giant old conifers. In the wild it is an erect shrub reaching 5 metres, spreading gradually to form large thickets. At the ends of the shoots there are large decorative leaves divided into finger-like lobes; in autumn there are showy bunches of red berries.

Prenanthes purpurea - rattlesnake root

Rattlesnake root is like a slender version of rosebay willow-herb (US “fireweed”; Epilobium angustifolium): the stem is slim and drooping and from the tips of the even slimmer side-stems hang clusters of small red-violet composite flowers. The generic name Prenanthes means “flowering face-down”. Each seed has a tuft of hairs which helps with wind dispersal to new areas.

Omphalodes verna - blue-eyed Mary (creeping navelwort)

The blue-eyed Mary grows stolons that take root, and eventually the ground is covered with a dense leaf carpet. The leaves are heart-shaped. In spring, when the daffodils are blossoming, the leaves are dotted with small flowers of the truest blue. That is the time to go to the southeastern end of Alppiruusulaakso (Rhododendron valley) to admire the beauty of the blue-eyed Mary. The flowers resemble Forget-me-nots (Myosotis) but are slightly larger. The blue-eyed Mary belongs to the family Boraginaceae.

Mercurialis perennis - dog’s mercury

Dog’s mercury grows wild in groves in the southernmost parts of Finland but will, if planted, also grow further north so long the conditions are right. This means shade and humous soil. It may then form a good deep-green groundcover. It produces a lush foliage and the delicate light-green flowers are particularly attractive in early spring. It is most noticeable in the Rhododendron Valley when it is in flower. Later in the summer it may pass unnoticed as larger plants demand more room.

Pinus peuce - Macedonian pine

Macedonian pine seeds were first received at Mustila in 1907 from a Bulgarian forester. They had been collected in the Rila Mountains which, despite their southern position, have low average temperatures, and where the snow only melts in June. The species grows in the Balkan mountains as a relict from before the last Ice Age. In addition to Bulgaria and Macedonia, it also grows around Lake Prespa in Albania.

Corylus avellana - hazel

Hazel’s natural range includes northwestern Asia and Europe, from the Mediterranean north to central Scandinavia and the coast of Finland. In Finland it grows in nutrient-rich deciduous and mixed forest. It prefers slopes and the foot of cliffs, and thrives in the protection of forest groves.