Ice and Color in the Alpine Zone


Icicles on the MOBS deck
Photo credit: Whitney McCann
The “big three” are still in bloom in the Alpine Garden and at Monroe Flats near Lakes of the Clouds.  Amidst the granite debris one will see white Diapensia, Diapensia lapponica, pink Alpine azalea, Loiseleuria procumbens, purple Lapland rosebay, Rhododendron lapponicum, and a touch of yellow as the Mountain avens, Geum peckii, start to bloom.  Dwarf cinquefoil, Potentilla robbinsiana, Bearberry willow, Salix uva-ursi, and tiny white Alpine bluets, Hedyotis caerulea, have also begun to flower in the alpine zone.  “It’s a tough place to grow,” read the trail signs at tree line.  So it is.  The Memorial Day storm deposited four inches of snow and ice on Mount Washington, and the photograph of icicles shown here was taken June 7 at the Summit.  Despite the odds these plants cling to their cushions and endure the weather.  At Lakes of the Clouds, Indian Poke, Veratrum viride, a large-leafed plant protected by the winter snow banks, is popping up behind its receding snow cover, providing a striking contrast of the seasons.



Diapensia (white) and Lapland rosebay (purple) alpine flowers
Photo credit: Whitney McCann