Alaska is home to so many incredible plants. Wildflowers, berries, and mosses are all no stranger to the boreal forest and its towering alpine surroundings. We hoped to narrow a list down for you to hunt for whenever you come to visit Denali. Not only can you find these things in the National Park, but they grow free and wild all around its boundaries as well. Don’t see them on this visit?! Well I guess that means you’ll just have to come visit again another time.
1. Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium): This beautiful pink flower is common all over the Pacific Northwest! In denali you can find fields of it alongside the road, in meadows and in the wake of wildfires. Locals use it for all kinds of things, from making jams to observing it as a calendar. As the summer progresses the flowers open from the bottom of the stalk to the top. When those final flowers bloom on top, the Denali summer is almost at its end.
2. Blueberry (Vaccinium uliginosum): Bears aren’t the only animals that love these delicious berries. The tundra ground wild with blueberries, especially after a wet summer in Denali. You can find this foragers feast along the trail during hikes, by the shore of freshwater sources, and in the interior’s endless sea of tundra. Get a bucketful after the first frost to make yourself blueberry muffins, jam, or even ketchup (google it if you don’t believe me)!
3. Monkshood (Aconitum delphinifolium): This delicate flower is deceptively deadly. Its common name is rooted in its appearance, resembling the hooded cloaks of by gone monks. If you don’t recognize that name, you might recognize its equally common nickname Wolfsbane. This purple blossom has been used by cultures throughout history as a deadly poison and paralytic. Some say that its even what caused Cleopatras early end. If you see it on trail, take care not touch.
4. Forget-Me-Not (Eritrichium aretioides): Unlike Monkshood, the Forget-me-not is an adorable and loveable flower. Its small blue blossoms were so beloved by those who came to settle here, that it was awarded the honor of being the official State Flower! Eyes peeled for this in the rocky high places of Alaska from mid to late summer, and you’ll likely never forget your visit here.
5. Tall Bluebells (Mertensia paniculate): These incredible flowers grow in thick bunches around Denali’s wet places. Floodplains and meadows are where you want to go to find these blossoms, and when you so give them a taste. Their sweet nectar will remind you of trying a honeysuckle again for the very first time.