Plants

Wildflowers on Hat Creek
Mosses and red fir set the backdrop as a diverse cast of Lassen's wildflowers bloom along Hat Creek.

NPS Photo/ Jeremiah Reeves Jolley

 

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.

 

Species Lists

Select a link to view a list of and information related to native and non-native plant species including:
Plants on Public Lands Flora (symbiota.org)
Fungi on mycoportal.org
Mosses on bryophyteportal.org
 
Graphic depicting plant life zones in Lassen

Plant Life Zones

Mixed Conifer (below 6,500 feet)
At elevations below 6,500 feet the dominant vegetation community is the mixed conifer forest. Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, sugar pine, and white fir form the forest canopy for this rich community that also includes species of manzanita, gooseberry and ceanothus. Common wildflowers include iris, spotted coralroot, pyrola, violets, and lupine.

Red Fir Forest (6,500-8,500 feet)
Above the mixed conifer forest is the major community of the red fir forest. Between elevations of 6,500 and 8,000 feet, red fir, western white pine, mountain hemlock, and lodgepole pine dominate a community less diverse than the mixed-conifer forest. Common plants include satin lupine, woolly mule's-ears and pinemat manzanita.

Subalpine (8,000 to 10,000 feet)
Subalpine areas include the upper limit for the growth of standing trees. From 8,000 feet to treeline, plants are fewer in overall number with exposed patches of bare ground providing a harsh environment. Rock spirea, lupine, Indian paintbrush, and penstemon are a few of the rugged members of this community. Trees in this community include whitebark pine and mountain hemlock.

 

Plants of Concern

Sprinkled 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.
 
A Clarks Nutcraker pulls a seed from a Whitebark pine tree

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. This summer, student scientiests will assist 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.
 
 
 

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Mineral, CA 96063

Phone:

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