A Bouquet of Biodiversity
Lassen Volcanic is home to both native plants and invasive (non-native) species. Native are plants indigenous to the area in geologic time. This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area (trees, flowers, grasses, and other plants. Invasive plants are not native to the park and have a tendancy to spread, possibly causing damage to the existing ecosystem.
Plant Life Zones
Mixed Conifer (below 6,500 feet)
Red Fir Forest (6,500-8,500 feet)
Subalpine (8,000 to 10,000 feet)
Plants of ConcernSprinkled throughout Lassen Volcanic's elevation-defined Life Zones are several plants of concern. "Concern" is based on a variety of variables, including the level of threat a species faces, its abundance and ranking, and also the ecosystem services that it performs. The greatest threats to Lassen's flora include climate change, competition with invasive plants, and historical fire suppression.
Whitebark Pine and Blister Rust
More than 300 acres of whitebark pine are potentially susceptible to infection of an exotic pathogen known as white pine blister rust. Student scientists are assisting park ecologists in mapping the distribution and rate of infection in these ancient, alpine trees.
Gnarled whitebark pine survive on the barren subalpine slopes of Lassen Volcanic with the help of their partner, the Clark's nutcracker. These curious birds flock to the trees' twisted branches for their rich, fatty seeds (with more calories per pound than chocolate), which help them survive Lassen's harsh winters. This dependent relationship has become increasingly important as whitebark pine numbers decrease under attack of natural diseases.
Last updated: March 19, 2019