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The North Continent of Barrayar was the settlement site of the original colonists from Earth. The other continent on Barrayar was called the South Continent.

"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"[1]
  • Horned hoppers – these were small creatures that could be caught and killed by house cats[2]

Imported animals on the North Continent[]

  • horses (widespread references)
  • trout, salmon, bass[3]
  • pigs, dogs, cats[3][4]
  • cattle, red deer, goats[5][4]
  • sheep[6][7]
  • chickens and other birds[8][4]
  • black-and-white rats[4]
  • bats were rare, due to shortage of edible insects[9]
  • bears (performing ones)[10][11]
  • silk worms[12]
  • wasps[13]

Native plants of the North Continent[]

  • Deerslayer vine – a plant grown by gardeners which tended to be touchy about illumination levels[14]
  • love-lies-itching – a plant that grew in massed groups suitable for borders, it was bright red[15]
  • razor-grass – a tall, billowing, blond plant that was not truly a grass, but did meet the razor qualification[15]
  • damnweed, goatbane[15]
  • henbloat – a red-brown weed with a stalk; it was large enough to conceal a rad bug [15][4]
  • 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.[16]
  • scrubwire – a low, rounded plant with muted colors and a strong, spicy scent[17]
  • chuffgrass – a tall grassy plant with a sickly, citrus scent[17]
  • zipweed – a tall plant with blond and maroon stripes and a faint, sweet fragrance[17]

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)
  • oak[18][19]
  • elm, hickory, vesper-birch[19]
  • yew[20]
  • walnut[21]
  • ebony trees were newly imported (three decades prior to time of Memory)[19]
  • juniper[22][1]
  • roses[1]
  • grapes (widespread references)
  • apples[1]
  • brillberry – these were red, seedy berries sometimes used in Winterfair cooking. They grew in patches, clinging to rocks and sometimes near overhangs.[1][23][24][25]
  • buckwheat – these were probably the grain Barrayarans usually consumed as "groats"[26]
  • cabbages[25]
  • cauliflower[25]
  • onions[1]


Mount Sencele, where the Imperial Service Academy sent candidates on 100 kilometer runs was probably on the North Continent.[27]

Notes and references[]