America's National Parks and Road Trip Planning Find Your Park Road Trip Activities Nature

Indiana Dunes National Park Plants

The national lakeshore provides habitat for 1,130 native vascular plants, including the federally threatened Pitcher's thistle. The lakeshore is home to populations of 30% of the state of Indiana's listed rare, threatened, endangered, and special concern plant species. Shaped by glacial events and changing climates, the dunes landscape contains disjunct flora representative of eastern deciduous forests, boreal forest remnants, and species with Atlantic coast affinities. In addition, the national lakeshore is part of the upper- and eastern-most limits of the tallgrass prairie peninsula and supports high quality remnants of this ever-diminishing vegetation type.

The presence of many unique dune and wetland plant community types has lead to a long history of botanical exploration and research. Lands within the national lakeshore have been called the birthplace of American ecology as a result of early work on plant succession performed by Dr. Henry Cowles over 100 years ago. Investigations related to several areas of plant ecology continue today and are viewed as essential to preserving the dynamic ecosystems of the Indiana Dunes.

Featured Outdoor Gear

A carry-on companion or commuter pack, the Bellroy Transit+ 38L Backpack has the organizational skills of a personal...
Price subject to change | Available through

National Park Spotlight
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Featured Wildlife
Maine Puffins
Maine Puffins

Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.