Vesterøy’s Rare Nature

Caught. A Coenagrionidae (Erythromma lindenii) sitting in the paste to sundew and will slowly but surely be consumed. In Norway, there are three generations of such carnivorous plants: Drosera, Utricularia and Pinguicula. Photo: Pim Leijen

If you’re driving the mainland highway out to the Hvaler, then you’ll arrive on Vesterøy, the first of the Hvaler Islands. Vesterøy is a wonderful adventuring area for those who want to go kayaking or hiking. Vesterøy is the most rugged of the Hvaler Islands and most likely the island with the greatest variety in nature. The island is blessed with great natural contrasts that it can be easy to think you aren’t on the same island. If you travel around Vesterøy in one day, you will easily spot the differences in the natural conditions and infrastructure. Some places on the island are densely populated residential areas, while elsewhere on the island, you feel as if you are miles away from people.

Many people associate Hvaler with summer, boating, salt spray, and rocks heated by the sun. Lesser known is the lush oases and swamp forests’ shade. The Ilemeyr nature reserve is just a place you might not expect to find here by the sea. In the middle of Vesterøy northeast by Utgårdskilen is the unique nature reserve Ilemyr. Here there is a wonderful, rare forest feel and marshland. All vegetation is preserved, but you may wander freely.

But there is also a "snake" hiding in this paradise. In the marshes, Sundew grows, which a so-called carnivorous plant. This is not as dramatic as it sounds. It captures small insects to obtain nitrogen in the nitrogen-poor bogs in which the Sundew grow.

Ilemyr Nature Reserve

Sundew is a fairly modest plant, only 10-15 cm tall, with small white flowers and colors that make it stand out from other vegetation in the marsh. But after finding one in the marsh, it could become a fight to the death, where sundew has caught an insect. Sundew catches insects with its sticky hairs. Insects are lured to the plant's smell and then get themselves stuck in the sticky droplets and are then slowly dissolved while the nitrogen is taken by the plant. Sundew is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants in the world, but only has three species in Norway.