The genus Acaena belongs to the family Rosaceae. It's native to the southern hemisphere, mainly New-Zealand, Australia and S-America. The species are low growing herbaceous plants or subshrubs with tiny leaves resembling rose leaves. Many are beautiful groundcovers with colorful foliage e.g. bluegreen or bronze.
The genus Achillea belongs to the family Asteraceae. Their defining characteristics are finely divided, aromatic leaves and clusters of small composite flowers. The genus contains around 150 species native to Euope, N-Asia and N-America. A number of garden cultivars are available in a variety of colours.
Acinos is a small genus of around 10 species belonging to the Lamiaceae family native to S-Europe and W-Asia. These are low growing plants that need a sunny spot and well drained soil. Acinos is derived from the Greek word akinos which means small, fragrant plant.
The genus Aconitum belongs to the family Ranunculaceae and as with many other genera of that family Aconitums are poisonous. In fact most are so poisonous that one English common name is "wolf's bane" and they were a popular way for royalty of centuries past to get rid of their competition. Aconitums are hardy and can tolerate some shade, but too much shade can decrease flowering. They prefer fertile, moist, yet well drained soil as most species are native to mountain meadows in the Northern hemisphere.
Adenophora is a genus in the family Campanulaceae which very much resembles Campanulas. Most species are native to Asia with the exception of one, which grows in Europe.
Adenostyles is a genus in the family Asteraceae. It is a small genus of three species all native to the Alps.
Agastache is a genus in the family Lamiaceae, with fragrant leaves and long spikes of small flowers. There are about 22 species in the genus, all native to N-America, apart from one, which is native to E-Asia. They are popular garden plants in warmer climates as they attract butterflies and humming birds and a great variety of garden cultivars are available. They have little value in Icelandic gardens and are fairly tender.
Ajuga is a genus in the family Lamiaceae. Species grown in gardens in Iceland are native to Europe.
Alchemilla is a genus in the family Rosaceae. They have ornamental foliage and although the flowers aren't very showy, the umbels of lime green flowers are great accents with other flower colours. Most species of the genus are native to northern Eurasia, but a few species are native to mountains in Africa and N-America. Three species are native to Iceland.
Allium is a genus in the family Alliaceae. The genus includes onions grown for food, but also a number of decorative garden plants. It is a very large genus with close to 1000 species, most of which are native to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.
The genus Androsace belongs to the family Primulaceae. The genus contains around 100 species, all of which are high alpines which grow best in gritty soil in full sun.
Anemone is a genus in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, and bears a resemblance to buttercups. They grow mostly in northern regions and mountainous areas. Many are spring flowering or flower in early summer, but some flower later in the season, such as Anemone huphensis.
Aquilegia is a genus in the family Ranunculaceae. They are hardy plants that prefer fairly moist soil and semi-shade. However, the genus includes a few alpine plants that need full sun and well drained soil.