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Denali State Park Plant Life

The mosaic of plant life is dominated by the white spruce-paper birch forest. Above the 2,500-foot timberline, moss campion, mountain avens, and other hardy flowering plants brighten the low-growing alpine tundra community. Moist tundra meadows, frequently characterized by cotton grass tussocks, may be found in poorly drained areas. Patches of dense birch-alder-willow thickets are present on upper hillsides and are a bane to off-trail hikers. Black spruce stands surround low muskeg areas, and large black cottonwoods and balsam poplars grow along the river flood plains, particularly west of the Chulitna River. Edible berries of some variety are associated with each of these plant communities. Species include blueberries, highbush and lowbush cranberries, currants, watermelon berries, crowberries, and cloudberries.

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