Native Plants

Native Plant List – Alaska

This is a "starter" list of native plants for Alaska. It is intended for residential or commercial landscapers who want to create attractive and varied native landscapes.

Alaska Trees

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Paper Birch Betula papyrifera F A 50-70' White, peeling bark. Nice fall color.
Alaska Cedar Chamaecyparis nootkatensis P-F W 25-100' White bark, weeping branches, evergreen foliage.
American Larch Larix laricina F W 50-70' Deciduous. Inconspicuous. Rapid growth.
White Spruce Picea glauca P-F A 50-100' Evergreen. White-green needles. Food for wildlife.
Black Spruce Picea mariana F-P W 40-80' Evergreen. Blue-green needles. Low branches take root.
Sitka Spruce Picea sitkensis P-F W 40-150' Yellow bloom in May. Evergreen.
Beach Pine Pinus contorta F D 20-30' Evergreen. Dark-green needles, red-brown bark.
Balsam Poplar Populus balsamnifera F W 60-80' Deciduous. Cottony seeds. Fragrant, resinous buds.
Quaking Aspen Populus tremuloides F A 35-50' Deciduous. Nice fall color. Leaves tremble in breeze.
Western Hemlock Tsuga heterophylla P-S A 40-150' Slow growing evergreen. Red-brown scaly bark.
Mountain Hemlock Tsuga mertensiana P-S W 30-100 Delicate, evergreen foliage. Provides habitat for birds.

Alaska Shrubs

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Green Alder Alnus crispa F W 10' Thicket-forming, deciduous, produces cones & samaras.
Sitka Alder Alnus sinuata F W 10' Fast-growing, fixes nitrogen, extensive root system.
Serviceberry Amelanchier alnifolia P-F A 15' White flowers; small, edible purple berries.
Silverberry Elaeagnus commutata F D-A 12' Silvery, ornamental foliage.
Common Mountain Juniper Juniperus communis F W 3' Evergreen. Tolerates poor soil. Berry-like cones.
Labrador Tea Ledum palustre P-F W 3-4' Aromatic leaves, fragrant white flower clusters.
Shrubby Cinquefoil Potentilla fruticosa F A 4' Dark green leaves; yellow, buttercup-like flowers.
Prickly Rose Rosa acicularis P-S D-A 10' Pink flowers, attractive, needs careful pruning.
Nutka Rose Rosa nutkana P-S W 4' Edible, often very fragrant, pink flowers.
Thimbleberry Rubus parviflorus P-F W 6' White-ish flowers, thimble-shaped fruit, good for wildlife.
Soapberry Shepherdia canadensis P A 4-20' Edible, bitter red berries.
Mountain Ash Sorbus sitchensis P-F D-A 2-5' Foliage colorful in autumn. Round, reddish berries.
Snowberry Symphoricarpos albus S W 3-5' White berries. Tolerant of a variety of soils.
Alaskan Blueberry Vaccinium alaskaense P W 2-8" Deciduous, berry-producing shrub.
Lingonberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea P A 3' Evergreen. Edible red fruit.

Alaska Flowering Perennials

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Northern Monkshood Aconitum delphinifolium P-F W-A 10-30" Blue, sometimes white. Toxic: touch can cause numbness.
Cut-leaf Anemone Anemone multifida P D 12-18" Fine, light-green leaves. Pink to maroon flowers.
Narcissis-flower Anemone Anemone narcissiflora F A 8-14" White flowers with yellow centers.
Western Columbine Aquilegia formosa S-P D-W 2-3' Delicate red flowers with yellow sepals.
Sea Pink Armeria maritima F D 8-10" Dense tufts of grass-like leaves. White to pink flowers.
Arnica Arnica spp. F D 6-18" Yellow flowers have medicinal value.
Aster Aster spp. F A 12-30" Lavender to purple flowers.
Marsh Marigold Caltha leptosepala P-F W 1' Heart-shaped waxy leaves. White saucer-shaped flowers.
Harebell Campanula rotundifolia P A-D 4-15" Blue-violet. Attractive to wildlife.
Indian Paintbrush Castilleja caudata F D-W 8-12" Pale yellow paintbrush-shaped flowers.
Arctic Daisy Chrysanthemum arcticum F W 14" Can take salty soils.
Larkspur Delphinium glaucum P-F W 4-6' Purple. Often found in wetlands.
Shooting Stars Dodecatheon frigidum F A-W 6-18" Magenta to lavender. leafless stem.
White Fireweed Epilobium angustifolium F A 3-8' Pink, showy flowers. Thrives in burned areas.
Dwarf Fireweed Epilobium latifolium F W 2' Spikes of small magenta or pink flowers.
Northern Geranium Geranium erianthum P-F A 14-24" Blue to violet. Attracts bees, butterflies, birds.
Wildflag Iris Iris setosa P-F W 12-24" Deep violet blue flowers with long green leaves.
Nootka Lupine Lupinus nootkatensis F D 2-3' Brilliant blue/purple flowers. Self-seeding. Seeds toxic.
Bluebells Mertensia paniculata Pink/blue/white bell-shaped drooping flowers.
Monkeyflower Mimulus guttatus F-P W-A 2-3' Yellow flowers. Grows well along streams.
Field Oxytrope Oxytropis campestris F D 4-12" Usually cream colored. Prefers rocky/gravelly slopes.
Yellow Oxytrope Oxytropis maydelliana F D 6-12" Clusters of small, yellow flowers.
Jacob's Ladder Polemonium acutiflorum P-F W 3-6" Mainly blue flowers. Leaves alternate sides like ladder.
Yellow Sedum Sedum sp. Yellow blooms. Good ground cover. Drought tolerant.
Beach Fleabane Senecio pseudoarnica F A-W 1-2' Bright yellow. Coastal flower, withstands salt spray.
Northern Goldenrod Solidago multiradiata P-F A-D 1-2' Grows in clusters of yellow flowers, elliptical leaves.
Violet Viola spp. S W 4-12" Delicate purple flowers. Attracts butterflies.

Alaska Perennial Ferns

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Lady Fern Athyrium filix-femina F-S W-D 2-3' Light green, lacy leaves.

Alaska Grasses & Grass-like

Common Name Scientific Name Sun Moisture Height     Comments
Bluejoint Grass Calamagrostis canadensis F W 3-5' Tussock-forming with light-colored seeds.
Tufted Hairgrass Deschampsia caespitosa F W 2-3' Clump-forming. Semi-evergreen.
Vanilla Grass Hierochloe odorata F W 1-2' Fragrant, good soil stabilizer. Spreads quickly.
Alpine Bluegrass Poa alpina F-P D 2' Densely tufted. Thick, fleshy leaves.
Sun Exposure Soil Moisture Drought Tolerance
F = Full Sun W = Wet E = Excellent
P = Part Sun A = Average G = Good
S = Shade D = Dry M = Moderate
P = Poor

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