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Subalpine Meadow

Scientific Name: Mountain Alder - Bush-honeysuckle Subalpine Meadow; State Rank: S1

Community Description: These shrub and graminoid dominated meadows occur near treeline. Dominants vary according to substrate moisture but often include mountain alder, bluejoint grass, and meadowsweet. In drier areas, bush-honeysuckle may be prominent. This vegetation is taller and more dense than typical alpine dwarf shrub vegetation. Openings around pondshores or other disturbed areas may support rare plants. Back to top.

Soil and Site Characteristics: Sites occupy upper mountain slopes, flats, or basins near or above treeline. Slopes very from almost flat to quite steep, and substrate moisture varies from dryish to seepy soil conditions. Back to top.

Diagnostics: Sites are in an alpine setting with dense mountain alder, bluejoint grass, and/or bushhoneysuckle; dwarf shrubs are absent or minor. Back to top.

Similar Types: Other alpine and sub-alpine types have different characteristic species. However, this is not a well documented type, and its distribution and relationship to other alpine and subalpine vegetation types needs work. Back to top.

Conservation, Wildlife and Management Considerations: Both known occurrences in Maine are on protected lands. Hiker impacts have been minimal. Understanding the importance of fire and other disturbances to initiating and maintaining the vegetation in this community type warrants study. Back to top.

Distribution: Upper-elevation ridges of Maine's western and central mountains (mostly in the New England - Adirondack Province); may extend to Gaspé peninsula. Landscape Pattern: Small Patch. Back to top.

Map showing distribution of Mountain Alder - Bush-honeysuckle Subalpine Meadow communities in Maine map legend

Characteristic Plants: These plants are frequently found in this community type. Those with an asterisk are often diagnostic of this community.

  • Sapling/shrub
    • Bush-honeysuckle*
    • Meadowsweet
    • Mountain alder*
    • Squashberry
  • Dwarf Shrub
    • Lowbush blueberry
  • Herb
    • Bluejoint*
    • Gall of the earth
    • Large-leaved goldenrod
    • Low rough aster
    • Three-toothed cinquefoil

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Associated Rare Plants

Associated Rare Animals

There are no documented rare animals associated with this natural community.

Examples on Conservation Lands You Can Visit

Example County
Mt. Katahdin, Baxter State Park Piscataquis Co.
North Traveler, Baxter State Park Piscataquis Co.

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