Why Iceland’s Deserts Are Turning Purple
by Ashley Dreiling
The lupin plant, native to Alaska, is turning Iceland’s ever-expanding deserts purple and causing a national debate.
In 1945, Hakon Bjarnason, the Director of the Icelandic Forest Service, brought only two spoonfuls of the sand lupin seed home from Alaska. It was popular for its pretty blue stem, pleasing scent, and self-fertilization qualities. Learn how the plant that was meant for forest regeneration is now threatening local ecosystems and has landed Iceland in a global controversy about all invasive species.