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High Arctic landscape on Svalbard with Mountain Avens (dryas octopetala)
Dryas is the name given to a series of cold climatic phases in Northwest Europe between 16,000 BP - 10,000 BP. Dryas III is better known as The Big Freeze. The cold phases are so named because Dyrus octopetala flourished at this time and is now used as a fossil indicator of those periods.
Dryas octopetala has a widespread occurrence throughout mountainous areas where it is generally restricted to limestone outcrops. These include the entire Arctic, as well as the mountains of Scandinavia, the Alps, and other Eurasian mountain regions.