When we think of the Arctic, it’s only natural to instantly envision snow-capped mountains, icebergs, glaciers, tundra, remote rocky shorelines, granite cliffs, deep fjords and vast stretches of wilderness and expansive bodies of water inhabited by polar bears, grizzly bears, muskoxen, beluga whales, harp seals, walruses and birds.
But in amongst the Arctic tundra, the remote rocky shorelines and the open spaces below the towering cliffs are incredibly bright slashes of brilliant color. This often unexpected beauty, which tends to hug the ground, is thanks to the flowering plants, dwarf shrubs, herbs, grasses, mosses and lichens that bloom in the Arctic.
Did you know that there are about 1,700 species of plants In the Arctic tundra alone?
Guests on Arctic expeditions get to see these wonders of Arctic botany on scheduled shore-landings, where, feet planted firmly on the ground, they get to see up close the beautiful yet sturdy plants that flourish despite the sometimes harsh Arctic conditions.
We share with you five of our favorite Arctic flowers. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think they’re among the prettiest Arctic plants!
Photography by Acacia Johnson.
Bearberry (Arctous rubra, sometimes known as Kinnikinnick)
Purple Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia)
Mouse-eared Chickweed (Cerastium arcticum)
Yellow Marsh Saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus)
Elegant Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans)
While this one isn't a flower but rather a lichen, its stunning rusty-orange hues against the rocky background earned a spot on our list!