Plants of Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park is home to more than 300 species of plants, from towering conifers to small orchids. Many plants provide shelter and food for many animals, and many animals help plants to reproduce by spreading their pollen and seeds. Therefore, plants and animals depend on each other.

 
Photos of Chocolate Lily, Devil's Club, Indian Paintbrush, Nagoon Berry, Lupine, and Sitka Spruce
Some of the common plants found in Glacier Bay National Park include Chocolate Lily, Devil's Club, Indian Paintbrush, Nagoon Berry, Lupine, and Sitka Spruce.

Devil's Club Image NPS/Sierra Willoughby
Graphic NPS/Addy Falgoust

 

A Park for Plant Science
Did you know that Glacier Bay National Park was established to study a plant science called succession? Plant succession is the process by which plant life returns to land after being wiped out by something like a fire, flood, or glacier. 300 years ago, a glacier covered all of Glacier Bay. As the glacier retreats, scientists study how plant (and animal) life returns to the land.

 
An illustration of the 4 stages of plant succession
The stages of plant succession: 1) Rocks and gravel with a few hardy lichen. 2) Pioneer plants like dryas and fireweed. 3) Deciduous shrubs like alder and willow and some cottonwood trees. 4) Conifers, like spruce and hemlock, crowd out the deciduous plants.

Illustration NPS/Caitlin Campbell

Last updated: March 12, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
PO Box 140

Gustavus, AK 99826

Phone:

(907) 697-2230

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