Flowers in Alaska | Travel through Alaska | Tech US News

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don’t forget me Myosotis alpestris, family Boraginaceae/Borage

Cheerful, charming and the truest of the blues, the Alpine Don’t Forget is known for its delicate but surprising beauty. Standing 5 to 12 inches tall, with five petals no more than a third of an inch wide, Alaska’s state flower has fluorescent blue petals and an ornate yellow and white eye.

Found primarily in high-elevation and mountainous regions, forget-me-not flowers grow in Alaskan home gardens, hiking trails, wet regions, and well on stretches of rockier, more rugged terrain. You can find them in clusters during the summer, blooming during the long summer days and becoming more fragrant at night.

If you’re looking for Alaska’s true state flower, it’s important to note that its relative, Myosotis sylvaticait’s a much more common variety than the alpine elusive forget me not, Myosotis alpestris. You can find many of the sylvatica varieties, which bloom in many colors such as pink, blue, white and purple, but you will know the alpinefor its unique sky blue and occasionally, rare white petals.

Alaska Don't forget me

The state flower of Alaska

The forget-me-not has been the official state flower of Alaska since 1917, long before Alaska entered the Union as the 49th state in 1959. In the early 20th century, pioneer groups from Nome to Sitka formed a civic organization that it would be known as the “Great Igloo”. Representing a wide group of pioneers in Alaska, the Grand Igloo chose the forget-me-not as a symbol of constancy and perseverance, the global embodiment of the pioneer spirit. The flower is so important to the state’s history that the Alaska state flag incorporates the forget-me-not color into its blue background. The flag shows the North Star, which represents the northernmost state of the union, as well as the Big Dipper and the Great Bear, which symbolize strength.

The meaning of do not forget me

The meaning of forget me not varies by culture, but it is widely synonymous with true love, respect, faithfulness, faithfulness, peace, healing, growth, intelligence and power. myosotis (the forget-me-not genre) is Greek for “mouse’s ear,” named for its small, shy appearance. The phrase “forget-me-not” is the English translation of the French name of the flower: don’t forget mewhich means “don’t forget me”.

Alaskans and the Forget-Me-Nots

You’ll notice that the Alaska state flower, as well as many other local flowers, have a place in the beadwork of many Alaska Native artworks. Traditionally using pieces of stone or shell, and now modern beads, the image of the Alpine forget-me-not can be seen sewn into robes, gifts, parkas, moccasins, gloves, jewelry and spiritual items.

Many Alaskans have a unique relationship with oblivion. While some see it as a coveted addition to a home garden, others see it (the sylvatica variety in particular) as a pest that should never be planted. Regardless of your preference, the best time to plant forget-me-nots is in early spring through the months of August. They are best planted from seed, in rich soil that receives plenty of sunlight. Seeds for forget-me-nots can be found statewide at most garden centers and greenhouses.

Other notable flowers in Alaska

In addition to the alpine forget-me-not, here is a list of other unique flowers you will find in Alaska:

Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)

Fireweed is often referred to by Alaskans as the “unofficial state flower” and is aptly named as it is usually the first plant to grow after a fire. 1 to 9 feet tall, it is a vibrant pink-purple and is often used to make honey or jam. You can find it in landscapes in spring and summer, but as the saying goes, “when fireweed turns to cotton, summer will soon be forgotten.”

Fireweed in Alaska

Lupine (Lupinus nootkatensis, Leguminosae/Pea Family)

The lupine flower is prevalent in the interior, south-central, and southeast regions of Alaska, in both tundra and alpine areas, between June and September. It is 1 to 3 feet tall with hairy stems and five to nine beautiful purple leaflets sprouting from its stem. The plant and seeds are poisonous and can be found along roads, meadows, hilly regions and gravel bars.

Lupine in Alaska

Cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum)

At 5 to 9 feet tall, cow parsnip has a large green stem and white maple leaf-shaped flowers that are clustered in threes. The sap of the plant can blister the skin when exposed to sunlight, so be sure to wash exposed areas quickly with soap. Find it on hiking trails, forests and wetlands.

Alaskan cow parsnip
Photo credit: @aven.kane

monk (Aconitum delphinifolium, family Ranuculaceae/Buttercup)

All parts of this flower are poisonous, with its genus aconite Latin for “poisonous plant.” Monkshood is the most poisonous plant native to North America. Its dark blue and purple flowers are hooded monk-like and can be found in woodlands, mid-alpine areas and meadows from June to August.

monk flower

Alaskan Bunchberry (Cornus unalaschkensis, Family Cornaceae/Dogwood)

This small white flower with four petals can be found in wet forests, under bushes and on the edges of bogs. They produce bright red berries that are edible. Many indigenous cultures of the Northern Hemisphere enjoy them raw, with eulakante fish fat and sugar.

Alaska Buckberry
Photo credit: @hoflinn

Alaska Bell/Moss Heather (Harrimanella stelleriana)

This dwarf evergreen carpet-forming shrub has beautiful white bell-shaped flowers with a red outer center in four stacked rows. You can find it on cliff edges, alpine tundra, and rocky mountain slopes.

Sitka Rose (rough rose)

This shrub produces beautiful pink and white flowers, and comes in three varieties of native Rosa species: rose thorn, found in southern Alaska; Nootka rose or Sitka rose, found in southeastern Alaska; and the Rose of Woods, which can be found in the Interior region.

Sitka Rose in Alaska

Bluebells of Scotland (Campanula rotundifolia, Family Campanulaceae/Bluebell)

This Alaskan favorite can be found on cliffs, mountain slopes, tundra, and coastal grasslands. Its beckoning bell shape is complemented by ombre shades of pink, purple and blue.

Whether your travels take you on scenic drives, vast forests, stunning coastal areas, or Alaska’s many epic hiking trails, you’re sure to see these spectacular and unique flowers wherever the road takes you.

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