• pond surrounded by green brush, reflecting a distant range of snow-covered mountains that are dominated by one massive mountain

    Denali

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Forbs

Forbs are herbaceous flowering plant species. This category includes those plant species people think of as "wildflowers" such as goldenrod, gentian, fireweed, forget-me-not, larkspur, lupine, monkshood, poppies, and violets. This is the most species-rich group of plants in the Denali National Park flora, including about 450 species of plants from 54 families of flowering plants. The families with the largest numbers of forbs in the Denali National Park flora are Aster family (59 species), Mustard family (45 species), Buttercup family (32 species), Pink family (31 species), and Saxifrage family (31 species).

Forbs occur in all habitats across the park from aquatic communities to the driest, most windswept scree-slopes and ridges. The dazzling diversity of forms and colors within this group reflects a similar diversity of physiological adaptations and life history strategies. Consider, for example, the ecological biographical, morphological and physiological spectra represented by just three of our 450 species of forbs – Scamman’s Spring beauty (Claytonia scammaniana), Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepalum), and Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia).

Did You Know?

scenic image of a green plain bisected by a thin river, mountains and clouds in the distance

Cold temperatures limit trees from growing at high elevation in Denali. Warmer temperatures, however, have led to woody vegetation growing at ever-higher elevations. Treeline changes are a conspicuous sign of climate change.