Alaskan Wildflowers

The Matanuska Valley is home to an incredible array of wildflowers, from tall stately fireweed and lupine blooms to the tiniest alpine flowers on high mountain slopes. These photos are from my 2014 book, The Beautiful Matanuska Valley:

The Lupine is known by many names, including Blue Bonnet, and is a legume, or a member of the pea family.

The Lupine is known by many names, including Blue Bonnet, and is a legume, or a member of the pea family. Parts are toxic.

Sitka roses, which produce delicious rose hips in the fall.

Sitka roses, which produce delicious rose hips in the fall.

The wild geranium, long known as a useful medicinal plant, derives its name from a Greek word meaning ‘crane.’

The wild geranium, long known as a useful medicinal plant, derives its name from a Greek word meaning ‘crane.’

Fireweed is common along roads and trails, especially where recent fires or clearing has taken place. Several parts of the plant are edible.

Fireweed is common along roads and trails, especially where recent fires or clearing has taken place. Several parts of the plant are edible. Arctic or Dwarf Fireweed is much shorter than the standard variety.

Siberian Iris. According to Wikipedia, the SIberian Iris is native to north east Turkey, Russia, eastern and central Europe.

Siberian Iris are found in swampy lowlands in many parts of Alaska. According to Wikipedia, the SIberian Iris is native to north east Turkey, Russia, eastern and central Europe.

Tiny Forget-me-nots, chosen as the Alaska State Flower in 1949, are actually native to England.

Tiny Forget-me-nots, chosen as the Alaska State Flower in 1949, are actually native to England.

The Monkshood (Aconitum delphinifolium) which blooms in June and early July, is one of the most toxic plants known to man. Attaining a height of three feet, with intensely blueish purple or indigo blooms, its powerful poisons were used by the Aleuts to hunt whales with poison-tipped spears. Also known as wolf’s bane as its toxins were used to kill wolves. Handle with care.

The Monkshood (Aconitum delphinifolium) which blooms in June and early July, is one of the most toxic plants known to man. Attaining a height of three feet, with intensely blueish purple or indigo blooms, its powerful poisons were used by the Aleuts to hunt whales with poison-tipped spears. Also known as wolf’s bane as its toxins were used to kill wolves. Handle with care.

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About Helen Hegener

I write books about Alaskan history, and titles currently available include Alaskan Roadhouses, The First Iditarod, The All Alaska Sweepstakes, The Yukon Quest Trail, The Matanuska Colony Barns, and others. I am currently researching and writing a book on the early history and construction of the Alaska Railroad. You can contact me via email at helenhegener@gmail.com
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