The Albino Forests of Nordstat
One of the great oddities of the north is the large population of albino conifers located in forests about 40 kilometers south of Nordiskehjem. Large swathes of the northern forests play home to albino conifers which, due to extreme cold, general lack of sunlight for about half of the year have given way to mutations in the local pines. These plants themselves have a much larger amount of genetic material (six copies instead of two) and therefor are often more selectable to mutations in such a harsh environment. However, these mutations are some of the more beautiful things to see in the forests.
The mutation ranges from a pure white to a very pale green. This actually has a profound effect on the size of the tree as the lack of a green color is indicative of a lack of life-giving chlorophyll. The albino trees tend to be much smaller, usually by as much as 60% smaller than their un-mutated relatives. This often relegates them to being more of a large shrub because they cannot absorb and process enough light from the sun in what little time it shows than trees with more chlorophyll. The most common mutation is a pale green, while pure white mutations are the rarest because of a lack of longevity and being unhealthy due to only being able to extract the majority of it's nutrients from the soil.
Snow-covered albino pine trees in the Konungsbjarg range.
The albino conifers were also been a subject of local mysticism and considered to be trees blessed by Ull (a stepson of Þórr, son of Sif), a god associated with hunting and tracking. It is said that any many who is lucky enough to find such a plant growing in the wild should stick a single sprig in his shirt or torse for luck in hunting. The logic being that any many lucky enough to find such an oddity growing would also be lucky enough to find a fair-sized deer. As such they have also been associated with luck in general and have been worn as charms throughout the ages in Normark. They have also had an appearance in heraldry, by an old, now long-gone noble family - Silfrhönd clan - who was associated with the founding of Frystekapp in 1615 BCE during the reign of Náin I. They were granted their coat of arms by Náin I and their elder - Gaumund Silfrhönd - was granted Baronship over the city. It served as a portal to the east through the summer years and opened up the expansions further to the southeast such as Dalen, which would lead to further expansion in the future by Raurik and his Væringians. The several white pines were transplanted to the city center of Frystekapp in 1350 at the insistance of Geilin Silfrhönd, the son of Gaumund. Today they may still be found in the Old City Park in Frystekapp. They were named for each of his sons - Geilin, Géri and Gaul. Today they're maintained by modern science but in the past it was considered one of the most prestigious honors to be the Tree Warden of Frystekapp in the city.
There are, however, albino conifers elsewhere in The Nordic Union as well - although in a much more diminished capacity as the weather and day-night cycles become much less severe as one journey's southward. The old province of Hárbjarg holds the largest concentration outside of Nordstat, with approximately 1,509 reported albino conifers reported within Hárbjarg. Most of them (approximately 87% of them) are situated in Kvitlund (lit. White Grove). Although this is a proverbial drop in the pond considering many provinces - both new and old - are in some cases at least 45% forestland. That comprises of hundreds of millions of trees of trees, making the scattered and scarce patches of albino conifers staggeringly less than 1%. But that just adds to the mystique and wonder of such rare and beautiful trees in a realm most noted for it's natural beauty.