11 PURPLE Wildflowers in Alaska! (ID Guide)

Did you find a purple wildflower in Alaska?

Common Purple Wildflowers in Alaska

If so, I’m sure you’re wondering what type of wildflower it is! Luckily, you can use this guide to help you identify it. 🙂

 

Today, we will look at 11 common wildflowers that are purple in Alaska.

 

You will notice a USDA Hardiness Zone for each wildflower listed in the article. This refers to areas of the US where plants can grow based on temperature. Here is a map showing the hardiness zones of Alaska:

Hardiness Zones in Alaska range from 1a to 13b.

 

11 types of purple wildflowers in Alaska:

 


#1. Bull Thistle

  • Cirsium vulgare

Types of Purple Wildflowers found in Alaska

Also known as Boar Thistle, Common Thistle, Dodder, and Spear Thistle.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-8b
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-6′ (.6-1.8 m)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Bull Thistle is a spiny and common purple wildflower in Alaska.

 

So be careful if handling! It’s also a great flower if you want to attract giant bees and butterflies.

 

The seeds of this thistle are the preferred menu item for the American Goldfinch. However, these birds also use the thistledown to line their nests; thus, they wait until the flowers bloom in late summer to raise their young.

 


#2. Alfalfa

  • Medicago sativa

Purple Wildflowers species that live in Alaska

Also known as Lucerne.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-11
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

Farmers often plant alfalfa as a food crop for farm animals, and it fixes nitrogen from the air into the soil through its roots.

 

This purple wildflower is native to warmer climates and attracts many bees, butterflies, and birds.

 


#3. Winter Vetch

  • Vicia villosa

Common Purple Wildflowers species in Alaska

Also known as Vicia Species, Fodder Vetch, and Hairy Vetch.

Growing Information:

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-7
  • Life Cycle: Annual, Biennial, Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 1-3′ (30-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Sun

 

Often gardeners plant Winter Vetch as a companion plant to tomatoes. This is done because the Winter Vetch helps put nitrogen in the soil, which helps keep weeds from sprouting.

 

This purple wildflower grows in various places such as forests, grasslands, meadows, old fields, roadsides, and disturbed areas. It also is considered invasive in some areas.

 


#4. Spotted Knapweed

  • Centaurea stoebe

Alaska Purple Wildflowers species

Also known as Panicled Knapweed.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Biennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-3′ (60-90cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

You will usually find these wildflowers along roads and open fields throughout Alaska.

 

This purple wildflower is considered a weed in many places because it can crowd out other plants. However, it is also an allelopathic plant, which chemically changes the soil to discourage other plants from growing and favor its offspring. I can’t believe how rude Spotted Knapweed can be, but it is an effective evolutionary advantage!

 


#5. New England Aster

  • Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

purple wildflowers

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Hardy Aster and Michaelmas Daisy.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-9b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-7′ (90-210cm)
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Late Summer, Early Fall

 

New England Aster generally grows in wet environments in Alaska, although this purple wildflower can survive in dry soil or sand.

 

This purple wildflower is a great perennial for your garden because of its long bloom time in autumn. In addition, if you allow seed heads to dry on the plant, you can remove and collect the seeds for future plantings.

 


#6. Purple Coneflower

  • Echinacea purpurea

purple wildflowers

View/Buy Seeds HERE!

Also known as Eastern Coneflower and Eastern Purple Coneflower.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 2-3′ (60-90 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

Purple Coneflower is extremely hardy, which is why people love growing them in their gardens in Alaska. These flowers are also heat and drought-resistant, which means they will thrive in harsh conditions.

 

The cone-shaped disc comprises several smaller flowers, which contain loads of nectar. The colorful blooms draw the attention of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

 

Make sure to select an appropriate place in your landscaping beds, as Purple Coneflower grows anywhere from two to four feet high. In addition, coneflowers grow in clumps or clusters up to two feet wide. So be sure to give your plants plenty of room to thrive!

 


#7. Common Grape Hyacinth

  • Muscari botryoides

purple wildflowers

Also known as Muscari and Bluebells.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-11b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 8-12″ (20-30 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

 

This purple wildflower looks like a cluster of tiny grapes, hence their name Grape Hyacinth. Look for this perennial in various habitats in the wild such as plains, fields, foothills, and along roads.

 

This purple beauty is an easy-to-grow wildflower and makes an excellent addition to your home garden. But watch out for rabbits, squirrels, and deer who enjoy eating their fresh blooms.

 


#8. Purple False Foxglove

  • Agalinis purpurea

purple false foxglove

Also known as Purple Gerardia.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 2a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Annual
  • Approximate mature size: 12-36″ (30-91 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Summer, Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

 

The Purple False Foxglove is a pretty purple wildflower you can add to your garden in Alaska. It prefers moist sandy soils for it to thrive.

 

This semiparasitic plant derives some of its nutrients from other plants around them, such as native grasses, Loblolly Pines, Sycamore, or Sweetgum Trees.

 


#9. Early Blue Violet

  • Viola palmata

Early Blue Violet

Also known as Palmate Violet, Three-lobed Violet, and Wood Violet.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b-10a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-6″ (10-15 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Sun Exposure: Light Shade, Partial to Full Shade

 

Early Blue Violet is found in various habitats such as dry upland woods, rocky areas, and meadows.

 

This low-growing perennial attracts butterflies and is best grown in rich, moist, well-drained soil. This plant would also be an excellent plant for beds, borders, and rock gardens.

 


#10. Hookedspur Violet

  • Viola adunca

hookedspur violet pic

Also known as Sand Violet, Early Blue Violet, Hookedspur Violet, and Western Dog Violet.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4b-9a
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 4-8″ (10-20 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Mid Spring, Late Spring, Early Summer
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade, Light Shade

 

As their name suggests, this purple wildflower is often found in the mountains at varying elevations in Alaska. But it doesn’t necessarily HAVE to grow in the mountains and is found farther below.

 

This violet has seeds that contain oil that attracts ants, that carry the seeds to their nests. And this is how the Hookedspur Violet primarily spreads its seeds to new areas.

 


#11. Shaggy Blazing Star

  • Liatris pilosa

shaggy blazing star pic

Also known as Button Snakeroot and Marsh Gayfeather.

Growing Information

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 3a-10b
  • Life Cycle: Perennial
  • Approximate mature size: 3-5′ (90-150 cm)
  • Bloom Time: Fall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade

These purple wildflowers have clusters of shaggy reddish-purple flower heads and grass-like leaves, which helps you identify them in Alaska.

 

Shaggy Blazing Star grows in sandy or rocky soils in open pinewoods, roadsides, and old fields. It also is attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

 


Do you need more help identifying purple wildflowers in Alaska?

 

Check out this guide!

 


Which of these purple wildflowers have you seen before in Alaska?

 

Leave a comment below!

 

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