Native Plants / Alaska
Alaska Native Plants
A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits in growing native plants. First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need less fertilizers, pesticides or use less water. Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitat. Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.
Acer circinatum (Vine Maple) is most commonly grown as a spreading bushy large shrub, but it will occasionally form a small to medium-sized tree. Low-branched, multi-stemmed in habit, it usually develops multi-trunks with bright, reddish-green bark. Beautifully colored in most seasons, its broad foliage canopy, elegantly displayed in tiered pattern, emerges bright green in spring and warms up to attractive shades of orange and red in the fall.
Ideal for wet areas, Acorus calamus (Sweet Flag) is a spreading, marginal aquatic perennial forming a tuft of erect, sword-shaped, bright green leaves adorned with one slightly wavy edge and a prominent midrib. In late spring, this plant bears inconspicuous greenish-yellow flowers in finger-like inflorescences, 2-4 in. long (5-10 cm), which give way to tiny, reddish berries. Both the crushed foliage and rootstocks have a pleasant aromatic fragrance. A great choice for naturalizing, Sweet Flag is quite versatile in the garden and makes a decorative foliage accent in water gardens and around ponds.
Perfect for shade gardens, Actaea rubra (Red Baneberry) is herbaceous perennial forming bushy clumps of finely divided, bright green foliage, enhanced by clusters of small fluffy white flowers in late spring and early summer. Borne on conspicuous red stems which rise above the foliage, they give way to pea-sized glossy scarlet berries in summer.
Incredibly attractive, Adiantum aleuticum (Maidenhair Fern) is a deciduous or semi-evergreen, perennial fern with graceful, bright green fronds which open like the fingers of a hand atop upright, shiny, purple-black wiry stems. Each finger is further divided into a series of triangular segments (pinnules).
Ideal to complement colorful perennials in beds or borders, award-winner Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea) is a rewarding bushy perennial topped with bountiful clusters of long-lasting, buttonlike flowers which are perfect for dried floral arrangements.
Anemone parviflora (Small-Flowered Anemone) is a charming herbaceous perennial boasting solitary, poppy-like flowers, 1 in. across (2.5 cm), with a central boss of yellow stamens. White above, the blossoms are silky and tinged with blue below. Blooming in late spring to late summer, they are borne atop sturdy stems rising from a small clump of glossy, dark green, three-parted basal leaves.
Native to Western North America, Aquilegia Formosa, commonly known as 'Western Columbine', features masses of pendant, glowing red and soft yellow flowers, 2 in. across (5 cm), with straight spurs and bushy golden stamens. They rise elegantly on long, thin stems above a lovely fern-like bluish-green foliage and bloom for weeks from late spring to early summer
Extremely winter hardy, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) is a slow-growing, creeping, evergreen shrub with trailing red stems studded with small, leathery, shiny, obovate, dark green leaves, up to 1 in. long (2.5 cm). The foliage turns red or purplish in winter before becoming green again in spring. Pretty clusters of lantern-shaped, white-to-pink flowers hang gracefully from the short red stems in mid to late spring.
Armeria maritima (Sea Thrift) is a compact, evergreen perennial boasting round clusters of pink to lavender (or sometimes white) flowers borne atop slender stalks that rise well above the foliage. Blooming profusely in mid to late spring, sporadic additional flowering may occur throughout the summer.
One of the finest miniature ferns, award-winning Asplenium trichomanes (Maidenhair Spleenwort) is an evergreen fern forming a pretty rosette of long, slender, tapering fronds adorned with glossy black stems boasting many small, rounded or oblong, bright green pinnae.
Fully frost hardy, Aster alpinus (Alpine Aster) is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial boasting masses of large daisy-like flowers, 2 in. across (5 cm), with blue-violet rays and golden-yellow centers. Blooming in late spring to mid summer, the eye-catching blossoms are attractive to butterflies. Borne on slender stems, their gentle color blends with almost any other color in the garden.