On land reindeer were formerly hunted, to their practical extinction in the south, but in the districts of Godthaab, Sukkertoppen and Holstensborg there are still many reindeer.
Sometimes various lichens occur abnormally in such unexpected habitats as dried dung of sheep, bleached bones of reindeer and whales, old leather, iron and glass, in districts where the species are abundant.
Thyme and the small white dune-rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia) also grow in the dunes, and wall-pepper (Sedum acre), field fever-wort, reindeer moss, common asparagus, sheep's fescue grass, the pretty Solomon-seal (Polygonatum officinale), and the broadleaved or marsh orchis (Orchis latifolia).
Agriculture does not exist; the reindeer constitutes the principal wealth of the nomad Samoyedes and Lapps.
One classification makes three divisions for the epoch, characterized respectively by the existence of the cavebear, the mammoth and reindeer; another, two, marked by the prevalence of the mammoth and reindeer respectively.
The Russian Lapps are also for the most part fishers, as is natural in a district with such an extent of coast and such a number of lakes, not to mention the advantage which the fisher has over the reindeer keeper in connexion with the many fasts of the Greek Church.
In May or April he lets his reindeer loose, to wander as they please; but immediately after midsummer, when the mosquitoes become troublesome, he goes to collect them.
In the spring the great herds of tame reindeer are driven out to swim Strommen and graze in the summer pastures of Seiland; towards winter they are called home again.
The lines in which James Thomson describes their simple life The reindeer form their riches: these their tents, Their robes, their beds, and all their homely wealth Supply; their wholesome fare and cheerful cups are still applicable in the main to the mountain Lapps; but even they have learned to use coffee as an ordinary beverage and to wear stout Norwegian cloth (vadmal).
The destruction of the wild caribou has threatened to expose the Indians to wholesale starvation, hence the effort which the United States government has made to stock the country with domestic reindeer from Siberia.