Native Plants & Fungi

Bearberry creeping over the rocks.

Voyageurs National Park lies in a transition area between the southern boreal forest to the north and temperate deciduous forest to the south and east. It is composed of a variety of ecological systems, including conifer forests, hardwood forests, bogs, swamps, marshes, rocky outcrops, and lakeshore environments. The park is home to over 50 tree and shrub species, over 40 fern and moss species, over 200 grass, sedge, and rush species, and over 400 wildflower species.

Historically, fire and wind were the primary influences on the park's ecosystems. Today, past logging, beavers, exotic plants, and climate change affect these ecosystems. To increase awareness of some of these issues and promote the benefits of native plants, the park created an ethno-botanical garden on the grounds of the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. In addition, the park is cultivating a native plant nursery to assist with re-vegetation efforts in disturbed areas.

Visit one of the three visitor centers and ask for a Plant and Animal Guide.


Trees & Shrubs
Traveling the waters of Voyageurs, one can enjoy the same views the French-Canadian voyageurs witnessed – majestic white and red pine interspersed with spruce, fir, aspen, birch, jack pine, and red maple. Disembarking on a rocky shoreline, one can find the same delicious blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and hazelnuts that sustained the voyageurs on their journeys as well as the bearberry they smoked in their pipes and the birch bark they used to patch their canoes. Woody plants, whether six inches or 100 feet in height, continue to thrive in the park as they have done for thousands of years.

Asclepias Incarnata (Milkweed)
Asclepias Incarnata (Milkweed)

From the earliest violets in spring, to the last asters in fall, the forests and wetlands of Voyageurs are alive with color. Over the course of the season, watch the colors change as over 400 wildflowers bloom.

Ethnobotanical Garden
Many of the plants found in the park have been used by people for centuries. Some of these plants are important sources of food, while others have been used for shelter and clothing. Visitors to the garden can learn what these plants are, how they were used by earlier residents of the area, why they are important, and how exotic plants harm native plant communities.


Exotic Plants
The forests and wetlands of Voyageurs are healthy, but they are also threatened. One of the more significant threats is exotic plants. These are plants that are not native to the region. Some of these exotics are relatively harmless, while others have the potential to take over large swathes of habitat, displacing the native plants and the animals that depend on them. Staff work diligently to prevent these invaders from establishing in the park, and to remove them when found.

Birch Bolete Mushroom
Birch Bolete Mushroom

NPS, Anita Varnon

Everywhere we walk or build or garden, mushrooms and fungi can be found. They thrive in Voyageurs. With so much diversity of species, the park has an unknown number and variety of mushrooms and fungi.

Last updated: May 28, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



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