Forbs are herbaceous flowering plant species. This category includes those plant species people think of as “wildflowers” such as goldenrod, gentian, fireweed, forget-me-not, larkspur, lupine, monkshood, poppies, and violets. This is the most species-rich group of plants in the Denali National Park and Preserve flora, including over 450 species from 54 families of flowering plants.
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flowers on Mt. Margaret
NPS Photo

Forbs occur in all habitats across the park from aquatic communities to the driest, most windswept scree-slopes and ridges. The dazzling diversity of forms and colors within this group reflects a similar diversity of physiological adaptations and life history strategies. Consider, for example, the ecological biographical, morphological and physiological spectra represented by just three of our 450 species of forbs – Scamman’s spring beauty (Claytonia scammaniana), tall bluebells (Mertensia paniculata), and round-leaved sundew (Drosera rotundifolia).

patch of dogwood
NPS Photo / A. Parker Geisman

The families with the largest numbers of forbs in the park flora are:

  • Aster family (Asteraceae, 59 species)
  • Mustard family (Brassicaceae, 45 species)
  • Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae, 32 species)
  • Pink family (Caryophyllaceae, 31 species)
  • Saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae, 31 species).

Over 200 forb species are included in the Atlas thus far. Use the List by Family / Genera option to choose forb families and genera to explore or download a list all included forb species.

Browse All Forb Species OR Back to Growth Forms…