An analysis of travel reports of the finnish botanical expeditions to Russian lapland (Murmansk region and Northern Karelia) in 1861 and 1863.
Finnish botanical expeditions which were made to Russian Lapland (present-day Murmansk Region and northern Karelia, Russia) in 1861 and 1863 published travel reports with preliminary information including numerous floristic novelties and phytogeographical observations, but they have been overlooked in present-day studies. Two reports appeared in print, by Gustav Selin on the expedition made in 1861, and by Nils Isak Fellman on the expedition made in 1863. We analysed the records of vascular plant species published in these reports in order to trace and evaluate first records and localities of rare and legally protected species on the basis of herbarium vouchers kept at H. In spite of high self-claims, Selin actually only reported nine species new to present-day Murmansk Region and one species new to Republic of Karelia, and four species of vascular plants that are currently under legal protection in Murmansk Region, whereas Fellman reported 11 species new to Murmansk Region and five species new to Karelia, with 34 species under legal protection in Murmansk Region. First records of alien plants were seven species from Selin and four species from Fellman. These records brought the contemporary floristic knowledge in Russian Lapland to 504 species of native plants (50% of the current total) and 54 species of alien plants (11% of the current total). Fellman's report included the first phytogeographical observations from the Kola Peninsula, with the first botanical limits observed, and the first descriptions of key botanical territories which are currently under strict protection. This study contributes to botanical history, plant protection and management of plant invasions in Murmansk Region.