Plants of Ethnobotanical Importance
Humans have been living in and traveling through the Denali area for over 11,000 years. How did their landscape compare to what we experience today? Evidence captured through repeat photography and dozens of scientific studies indicate that the abundance and arrangement of certain plants on the landscape has certainly changed. Do these changes threaten the cultural traditions or important food sources for those who still rely on them?
The presence of native peoples, miners, settlers, and hunters has left various impacts on the land and also built a rich history of tradition and connection with plants – each group of people had their own set of plant names, uses, and superstitions. Through oral histories, written records, and current practices we are able to explore those views and build our own relationships with some of Denali’s most ethnobotanically important species. Choose a species of interest below, organized by common use, or browse them all.
Buildings & Construction
- Betula neoalaskana – resin birch
- Picea glauca – white spruce
- Picea mariana – black spruce
- Populus balsamifera – balsam poplar
- Achillea millefolium ssp. borealis – boreal yarrow
- Achillea sibirica – Siberian yarrow
- Artemisia tilesii – stinkweed
- Rhododendron tomentosum ssp. decumbens – Labrador tea
- Ribes triste – northern red currant
- Rubus arcticus – nagoonberry
- Rubus chamaemorus – cloudberry
- Vaccinium uliginosum – bog blueberry
- Vaccinium vitis-idaea – low-bush cranberry
Other Edible Plants
- Chamerion angustifolium – tall fireweed
- Pedicularis lanata – woolly lousewort
- Rosa acicularis – prickly rose
- Rumex arcticus – arctic dock
The Ecological Atlas and the DenaliFlora app are not a substitute for a plant identification guide, and we take no responsibility for misidentification of wild plants. Information provided, in particular the Known Uses section, is offered solely for educational purposes. No consumptive uses are encouraged. Please note even commonly consumed plants can cause adverse reactions in some people. Many traditional uses of native plants are contraindicated by medical research, and in any case should not be attempted without the guidance of a medical professional. This website and its editorial board specifically disclaims any liability, loss, injury, or damage incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the consumption of any botanical product.