Maine Natural History Observatory

Censusing and Monitoring the Species and Habitats of Coastal Maine

Plants of Baxter State Park

The extensive natural landscapes and wild character at Baxter State Park provide a diversity of learning opportunies for its visitors.  Visitors can experience habitats ranging from northern hardwood forests to boreal tundra in a single day at the park.  People are curious about what plants can be found at the Park, and often ask if there is a list or field guide to the plants that occur there.  Park staff note that there is neither a list (a flora), nor a field guide, and they have identified developing a flora as a management need.  Park staff and the privately organized Friends of Baxter State Park also recognize that a field guide to the plants of the park is an educational, informational, and recreational tool that is long overdue.  Through this project we will assist the Park in developing a flora, and we will use the resulting flora, including information on plant habitats, distribution, and photography as the first step toward developing a field guide.  Our project objectives are to:  1) conduct background research on previous floristic work conducted in the Park; 2) complete floristic surveys of representative Park habitats, especially less-explored areas such as lower-elevation wetlands and forests, and roadsides where invasive plants might be colonizing, and take digital images of Park plant species; floristic surveys will include a component of voluntary assistance from some of the state's leading botanists; 3) develop an annotated database of plant species with habitat and disbribution information for Park managers; and 4) produce a field guide, The Plants of Baxter State Park.

Progress to date:
• Completed field inventory of vascular plants in Baxter State Park between 2010 and 2014
• Over 850 species of vascular plants were detected
• Over 10,000 photographs of plants were taken within the Park
• Field Guide is now published and available for sale on our website