General information

Plants are an important subsistence resource for residents across the North Slope. This page provides information on some of the common plants found on the North Slope of Alaska, including plants not used for subsistence. Plant names (common, scientific and Iñupiaq) are provided as well as descriptions, pictures and traditional uses. The resources used for identification are listed here as well as other resources for information on plants in the “Links” section below.

DISCLAIMER: This guide includes traditional uses of plants and other vegetation. The information is not intended to replace the advice of a physician or be used as a guide for self-medication. Neither the author nor the North Slope Borough claims that information in this guide will cure any illness. Just as prescription medicines can have different effects on individuals, so too can plants. Historically, medicinal plants were used only by skilled and knowledgeable people, such as traditional healers, who knew how to identify the plants and avoid misidentifications with toxic plants. Inappropriate medicinal use of plants may result in harm or death.


Note: These pages are a work in progress. If you see any misinformation, misidentifications, or have pictures to add, please contact us. Information on the Iñupiaq names and traditional uses of these plants is especially welcomed. Check out “Unknown” pictures at bottom of page. Thanks!

Banner photo credit: Chris Finkler

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