En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
174 ratings

Monday - March 10, 2008

From: Poway, CA
Region: California
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Different kinds of plants living in subarctic areas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What are the different kinds of plants live in the subarctic areas?

ANSWER:

The subarctic includes the Canadian provinces, Alaska, Scandinavia, Siberia, northern Mongolia and northern China—in other words, the high latitudes south of the Arctic Circle (66° 33' N) and north of 70°N latitude. The soils tend to be acidic and boggy. As you go nearer to the Arctic Circle, you will find the soils will be frozen tundra for a good part of the year. There the plants are small and the primary trees you find are very small willows. There is also an abundance of mosses, grasses and sedges. Here is a link to some plants you can see on the Alaska tundra. As you go south in the subarctic you will begin to find conifers (spruces—Picea mariana (black spruce) and Picea glauca (white spruce), firs—Abies lasiocarpa (subalpine fir), and larches—Larix laricina (tamarack)) and there are smaller broadleaf trees such as birches—Betula papyrifera (paper birch), poplars—Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) and willows. The growing season is short but the daylight hours (sunlight for photosynthesis) are long so that the plants can grow rapidly. Click here to see some giant "domesticated" Alaskan plants.

One good way to see what sorts of plants grow in the subarctic region is to go to our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search on Alaska (or one of the Canadian provinces). You can also pick what type of plant you are interested in. If you do a combination search on "Alaska" and then "Tree" under Habit you will find 43 entries and see that there are lots of conifers and small broadleaf trees—but no oaks.

Here are a few photographs of typical plants you might see in subarctic Alaska:
 

More Shrubs Questions

Propagation of possumhaw from Austin
May 22, 2014 - I planted a possumhaw holly plant about 3 months ago and am really excited to watch it grow from its current 3-foot height. It is starting to berry right now. My question is about those berries: (Cle...
view the full question and answer

Narrow, evergreen shrub for privacy
December 28, 2008 - I live in San Antonio and my backyard is all driveway except for a 2-3' space in front of a 6 ft chain fence. I'd like to find an evergreen narrow shrub for privacy. Would Nandina be a good choice?...
view the full question and answer

Older leaves yellowing on Savannah holly in Dallas
May 01, 2009 - I planted a Savannah Holly in Dallas, TX in the Fall of 2008. It has new growth and some white buds all over it, but some of the older leaves are turning yellow and dropping off. Is this normal?
view the full question and answer

Non-fruiting Willamette raspberry plant in Wateford CA
May 23, 2013 - I have a 2 year old Willamette Raspberry plant that has many blooms, bees, great growing conditions, very healthy but has never set one fruit. I know about pruning. Any suggestions? It has been bloomi...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen for Heavy Clay and Full Sun in Louisiana
April 19, 2013 - What would be a fast-growing plant for privacy in Louisiana? I have heavy clay and full sun.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center