The area above treeline in the White Mountains of New Hampshire is called the Alpine Zone. It is an inhospitable place for plant life which is exposed to extreme conditions including high wind, heavy cloud cover, high precipitation, low temperatures and a short growing season. Yet many of the plants that grow here are well-adapted to the conditions.
The best time of year to spot these rare plants is in June when they’re flowering. I was lucky to see some of these plants on the Appalachian Trail while traversing the Northern Presidentials and the Mahoosuc Range in New Hampshire and southern Maine.
This is Diapensia lapponica, just before flowering This photo was taken near Edmands Col just before my final ascent of Mt Jefferson in the Northern Presidentials.
This plant is known as Labrador Tea (Ledum Groenlandicum). It is found in bogs in the alpine zone. This photo was taken while traversing one in Maine on top of a mountain called Mahoosuc Arm.
I spotted these lovely purple flowers called Lapland Rosebay (Rhododendron Lapponicum) on Mt Madison in the Northern Presidentials.
As a budding naturalist, I hope I’ve identified the species here correctly. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, I recommend the AMC Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits.
Written 2009. Updated 2015.