Fine of ISK 6.5 Million for Smuggled Roses

The Reykjavík District Court has sentenced a flower wholesaler to two months’ probation and a fine of ISK 6.5 million [$50,077; €43,244] for smuggling roses and bouquets into the country, RÚV reports. An employee of the wholesaler was also fined ISK 1 million [$7,704; €6,653].

The accused, who pleaded guilty, were charged with smuggling four shipments of cut roses and mixed bouquets into Iceland between 2016 and 2018, although the oldest of the charges was dropped.

According to the indictment, the wholesaler provided customs with inaccurate and/or misleading information about the types and quantities of flowers that they were importing from the Netherlands.

Icelanders Say ‘J’adore’ to Pink Poinsettias

A horticulturist in Hveragerði, South Iceland has been experimenting with multicolored poinsettia varieties and given the classic Christmas flower a makeover just in time for the holiday season. RÚV reports that Birgir Steinn Birgisson has successfully cultivated white, yellow, and hot pink poinsettias that will join their traditional red cousins on shelves this November.

Birgir Steinn gave reporters a tour of his greenhouse and was particularly pleased with the pink poinsettias. “We decided to give this variety—it’s called J’adore in French—a shot because October is a pink month,” he explained, referencing Breast Cancer Awareness Month and its pink ribbon campaign. “And also because this colour is so beautiful, which is why it got the name J’adore—that means ‘I love you,’ or ‘I like you,’ ‘you’re wonderful.’”

RÚV screenshot

The J’adore poinsettia cultivar was developed by the Dutch pot plant breeder Dümmen Orange and introduced to the market in 2017, but had not been successfully cultivated in Iceland before now.

Birgir Steinn’s first pink crop quickly sold out and he says that Icelanders have gone crazy for J’adore poinsettias already this year. He hopes the striking variety will continue to be cultivated in Iceland in the future and also that poinsettias return to their previous popularity in Iceland. The flower, which is called jólastjarna, or ‘Christmas star’ in Icelandic, was once a near-ubiquitous holiday decoration in Icelandic homes, but its popularity declined when the myth spread that the flower is poisonous, particularly to young children and pets.

The milky fluid in poinsettia leaves can cause mild irritation or allergic reactions if eaten in significant quantities, but Birgir Steinn says people needn’t be fearful and that most of the local crops are cultivated organically, without pesticides. As evidence of the flower’s harmlessness, he introduced his cat, a “good worker” who keeps the mice population in check around the greenhouse.

Herbal Fragrance Library Opens

Nordic Angan, or the Icelandic Herbal Fragrance Library, is now open in the town of Mosfellsbær, just outside of Reykjavík. The library is the brainchild of Elín Hrund Þórgeirsdóttir and Sonja Bent who, per a recent press release, put considerable research and effort into “capturing the sweet scent of Icelandic flora by distilling plants and trees and making essential oils out of them.”

Jonny Devaney

Visitors can walk through interactive fragrance exhibitions and “experience the aroma of Icelandic nature in a fun and unusual way, stimulate their sense of smell, and enjoy nature in an untraditional manner. The collection is the only one of its kind because there’s no other library that focuses solely on the sweet scents of Icelandic nature.”

Guests can also walk through the “Scented Shower,” an installation inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or ‘forest bathing.’ The installation diffuses scents of the Icelandic forest into the air and allows guests to walk through a cool, aromatic mist of water and essential oils.

Jonny Devaney

The library has received funding from the Technological Development Fund, the Design Fund, and a grant for women entrepreneurs in Iceland and was in development for two years before opening.

The Icelandic Herbal Fragrance Library is located at 27 Álafossvegur in Mosfellsbær and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12.00-5.00pm. Admission is ISK 1,200 ($8.60/€7.60) per person.