Summits and Rocky Outcrops

Plant with white flowers growing between rocks
Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) growing on the summit of Cadillac Mountain

Photo by Joe Philipson, Friends of Acadia, NPS

Fragile plant communities exist on mountain summits and rocky outcrops across Acadia. Spruce-fir forests are patchy and stunted in areas, while shrubs like mountain cranberries, blueberries, mountain holly, rhodora dominate the scene. Herbs like three-toothed cinquefoil is commonly seen, as are the bryoid layer of lichens and mosses on rocky outcrops.

Protection of these plant species can be challenging, especially in areas of the park more popular than most. With thousands of visitors throughout the summer months for decades, the summit area of Cadillac Mountain has sustained substantial loss of soil and vegetation. Fragile sub-alpine soils and plants are constantly impacted by social trails and heavy visitation.

Common Native Plants

The checklist below contains the park's most common plants within this community. The plant’s growth form is indicated by “t” for trees and “s” for shrubs. To identify unfamiliar plants, consult a field guide or visit the Wild Gardens of Acadia at Sieur de Monts Spring, where more than 400 plants are labeled and displayed in their habitats.

All plants within Acadia National Park are protected. Please help protect the park’s fragile beauty by leaving plants in the condition that you find them.

alder, green or mountain

s

Alnus viridis ssp. crispa

aster

Aster spp.

bearberry

s

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

birch, gray

t

Betula populifolia

blueberry, low sweet

s

Vaccinium angustifolium

bush-honeysuckle

s

Diervilla lonicera

cherry, pin

t

Prunus pensylvanica

chokeberry, black

s

Photinia melanocarpa

cinquefoil, three-toothed

Sibbaldiopsis tridentata

cranberry, mountain

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

crowberry, black

Empetrum migrum

fern, bracken

Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum

goldenrod, Rand's

Solidago simplex ssp. randii

harebell

Campanula rotundifolia

heather, golden

Hudsonia ericoides

holly, mountain

s

Nemopanthus mucronatus

huckleberry, black

s

Gaylussacia baccata

juniper, common

s

Juniperus communis var. depressa

juniper, creeping

s

Juniperus horizontalis

laurel, sheep or lambkill

s

Kalmia angustifolia

oatgrass, poverty

Danthohia spicata

pine, jack

t

Pinus banksiana

pine, pitch

t

Pinus rigida

raspberry, red

s

Rubus idaeus

rose, Virginia

s

Rosa virginiana

sandwort, mountain

Minuartia groenlandica

sarsaparilla, bristly

Aralia hispida

sweetfern

Comptonia peregrina

witherod or wild raisin

s

Virburnum nudum var. cassinoides

 
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    Last updated: October 27, 2020

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