• A mid-afternoon veiw down the expanse of Isle Royale National Park.  Photo taken from the Mount Ojibway Fire Tower.

    Isle Royale

    National Park Michigan

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  • Unmanned aircraft including hobbyists

    All waters and lands within the boundary of Isle Royale National Park have been closed to the use of unmanned aircraft including radio-controlled airplanes, hexacopters, and similar items. More »

Shrubs

Flower and fruit of the common shrub thimbleberry.

Flower and fruit of the common shrub thimbleberry.

Lisa Appel (flower) Jon-Hudson Spencer (fruit)

What abundant Isle Royale shrub produces maple-like leaves, large white -petaled flowers and red, juicy, shower cap-shaped fruits? Why, thimbleberry, of course! If thimbleberries taste too tart to you, fruits of other island shrubs (blueberries, raspberries, and sugar plums) offer a sweeter alternative. When sampling island berries or other plant parts, make sure that you know what you are eating is safe; some fruits and plants are poisonous.

 
Labrador Tea

Labrador Tea

Janet Marr

Other common Isle Royale shrubs include bearberry, prickly rose, juniper, and mountain ash, all of which grow in drier rocky areas. You can find leatherleaf, bog laurel, bog rosemary, and labrador tea thriving in boggy areas, while tag alder and sweet gale dominate other wetlands

 
Devils club flower

The spiny shrub devil's club is widespread on Isle Royale's Passage Island.

Lisa Appel

Many shrubs provide food and shelter to island birds and wildlife. In the past, the largest of the island's wildlife (moose) munched so much on canada yew that this once common shrub is now very sparse on the main island. However, just three miles (five km) to the northeast on moose-free Passage Island, this evergreen species continues to thrive. Also abundant on Passage Island is devil's club, an easily recognized shrub with spiny stems and leaves. This well-armed shrub, a Michigan threatened species, grows nowhere in the state except Isle Royale. Devil's club is one of about ten species at Isle Royale (including thimbleberry) classified as a "western disjunct," meaning that its main range is in the western U.S. To view a range map of devil's club (Oplopanax horridus), click here.

Did You Know?

Eastern Gray Wolf portrait.

The Ecological Study of Wolves on Isle Royale is the longest running large mammal predator-prey study on earth. The park offers outstanding possibilities for research in a remote, relatively simple ecosystem where overt human influences are limited.