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This flashy yellow flower sat in a basket at the port in Juneau and it is sensational.
  It is a Dahlia. This flower represents dignity as well as elegance, and it reminds me of a fiesta.


Flowers of Alaska

A photo essay by Meeta Gajjar Parker

I have been photographing flowers for years because they have a real presence in person and when captured by the lens of a camera; their spirit and energy is as vibrant as their colors.  Alaskans seem greatly inspired by flowers as well, because they are plentiful.  They beautify the lodges where we stayed, and the ports where our ship docked. They seem like a symbol of Alaskan Heritage.  I’ve included the State Flower of Alaska in my photo essay, the “Forget Me Not”, but all the flowers of Alaska are as unforgettable as the last Frontier.

These purplish blue flowers with budding pink flowers
growing up from behind were radiant against their pointy green leaves.

An Athabaskan elder who spoke to us in Denali National Park, brought our attention to these wild flowers that were growing on the side of the road. The Forget-me-not is Alaska’s State Flower. In German legend, this flower gained a reputation when people began to believe that if you wore it, you would not be forgotten by your lover. It became a sign of faithfulness and lasting love.

This “Coal Black Pansy” is a blend of two wild violets. Those who believe in the magical powers of flowers say that carrying this flower will attract love and will also make it rain.  Others think it is associated with weakness but in the language of flowers, it means “Think of me.”  This edible flower tastes slightly sweet and was found in Mt. McKinley Wilderness Princess Lodge.

This spectacular black, yellow and pink flower appears to be
star gazing in the sunlight while feeling a gentle breeze.

This Purple Lilac appears like a boomerang in the artistic way in which it has grown. 
This little piece of heaven was found at Mt. McKinley Wilderness Princess Lodge.
The Lilac represents youthful innocence and purity.

This striking flower is a Salpiglosis. 
The yellow and maroon in the center draws your eyes into the middle
of this jewel of a purple flower. 

Pink Geraniums are true floral elegance and appear like a mini bouquet of flowers
against a dark background.

This intensely yellow Begonia is stunning,
sitting in the sunlight next to a bud that will one day grow up to look just like it.

My husband Frank and I were on vacation in Alaska when I took these pictures.  The cruise to the Inside Passage took us to Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway.   The land tour took us to Mt. McKinley Wilderness Lodge, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks.  Alaskans seem to take pride in nature and especially in nurturing flowers.   It was most prevalent in the small ports and National Parks of Alaska.  If you ever have a chance to go to Alaska, make sure you take time to stop and smell the flowers.

Research Info:

Identifying the subjects of my essay was difficult.  I did a search for black flowers to find the only black flower shown here and I knew which one was Alaska’s State Flower.  I decided to approach the Flower Experts in Wilmington, DE, for help on identification.  They offered assistance, but only provided me with names of five flowers out of the 27 I started with.  Then I found Gina Docherty, a Master Gardener in Alaska, and she named all the rest except for two.

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