- "The fifty thousand Firsters from Earth had only meant to be the spearhead of Barrayar's colonization. Then, through a gravitational anomaly, the wormhole jump through which the colonists had come shifted closed, irrevocably and without warning. The terraforming which had begun, so careful and controlled in the beginning, collapsed along with everything else. Imported Earth plant and animal species had escaped everywhere to run wild, as the humans turned their attention to the most urgent problems of survival. Biologists still mourned the mass extinctions of native species that had followed, the erosions and droughts and floods, but really, Miles thought, over the centuries of the Time of Isolation the fittest of both worlds had fought it out to a perfectly good new balance. If it was alive and covered the ground who cared where it came from?"
- ―Miles reflects on the ecology of the North Continent[src]
The North Continent came to be divided into 60 Districts ruled by Counts; it is not known whether this division covered the entire continent or if there were yet-unclaimed regions.
While no large-scale maps of Barrayar's North Contintent exist, facts about it include: The Vorbarra District was to the east and probably coastal, while Dendarii District was inland and to the south, with the one or two districts between them. At least one far-west District existed, it was rural and mostly notable for not being notable (see Oliver Perrin Jole). The Vorpatril District was along the north-eastern coast; it got snow in the winter but the beaches were desirable vacation destinations. At least two mountain ranges existed: one was in the Vorpatril district (see Bonsanklar), and another ran east-west through the Dendarii District.
See Barrayaran Districts for more details.
Native animals of the North Continent
- "Bugs" – these were "tiny short-lived creatures that everyone on Barrayar but biologists called bugs"
- Horned hoppers – these were small creatures that could be caught and killed by house cats
Imported animals on the North Continent
- horses (widespread references)
- trout, salmon, bass
- pigs, dogs, cats
- cattle, red deer, goats
- chickens and other birds
- black-and-white rats
- bats were rare, due to shortage of edible insects
- bears (performing ones)
- silk worms
Native plants of the North Continent
- Deerslayer vine – a plant grown by gardeners which tended to be touchy about illumination levels
- love-lies-itching – a plant that grew in massed groups suitable for borders, it was bright red
- razor-grass – a tall, billowing, blond plant that was not truly a grass, but did meet the razor qualification
- damnweed, goatbane
- henbloat – a red-brown weed with a stalk; it was large enough to conceal a butter bug 
- skellytum – similar to a tree, it had a moisture-conserving central barrel. It was generally brownish and about 5 meters in height, though it could be bonsai'd.
- scrubwire – a low, rounded plant with muted colors and a strong, spicy scent
- chuffgrass – a tall grassy plant with a sickly, citrus scent
- zipweed – a tall plant with blond and maroon stripes and a faint, sweet fragrance
Imported plants on the North Continent
There would surely have been more of these than listed; probably most cultivated plants from Earth could be found on the continent.
- maple (widespread references)
- elm, hickory, vesper-birch
- ebony trees were newly imported (three decades prior to time of Memory)
- grapes (widespread references)
- brillberry – these were red, seedy berries sometimes used in Winterfair cooking. They grew in patches, clinging to rocks and sometimes near overhangs.
- buckwheat – these were probably the grain Barrayarans usually consumed as "groats"
Notes and references
- "The Mountains of Mourning"
- The Warrior's Apprentice chapters 5,14
- Memory chapter 20
- "The Flowers of Vashnoi"
- Barrayar chapter 11
- The Warrior's Apprentice chapter 18
- The Vor Game chapter 6
- Cryoburn chapter 2
- Memory chapter 4
- Memory chapter 19
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen chapter 13
- Shards of Honor
- Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen chapter 14
- Komarr chapter 1
- Komarr chapter 2
- A Civil Campaign chapter 8
- A Civil Campaign chapter 1
- Memory chapter 10
- Memory chapter 9
- A Civil Campaign chapter 17
- The Warrior's Apprentice chapter 212
- Komarr chapter 17
- Mirror Dance chapter 14
- Barrayar chapter 16
- The Warrior's Apprentice chapter 19
- The Warrior's Apprentice chapter 2