Yukon Draba Photo by G. MussgnugYukon Plants



Biodiversity is important

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During the last ice age (30,000 - 10,000 years ago) most of Canada was covered in kilometre-thick sheets of ice. During that time most of Yukon, Alaska, and parts of the Northwest Territories remained ice free in a sub-continent called Beringia. While most of Canada had to be recolonized from plants that survived south of the ice sheets, Yukon already had a rich flora. Many of these plants survived and today Yukon is known to be home to 1242 species of plants (1348 including subspecies and varieties) from 84 families.

During the ice age, glacier-free Yukon was connected to Asia via a landbridge, exposed due to low sea levels. As a result, Yukon contains rich areas of plant biodiversity. The north coast is home to 1/5 of the world's arctic flora, perhaps the richest arctic coastline for its size. The Mackenzie Mountains host the richest areas of plant biodiversity in Canada, while more than 10 per cent of all plants native to Canada can be found in the LaBiche Valley in the south.



Yukon surpasses the Maritime Provinces and the other territories for native plant diversity, and is second only to BC and Ontario for the number of plants found nowhere else in Canada. Yukon is second only to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for the fewest numbers of introduced plants.

Yukon is a contact zone for plants from 3 different regions: Beringia, the Western Cordilleran mountain ranges, and the Boreal forest. Three regions in Yukon contain higher levels of plant diversity:

Yukon Endemic (found nowhere else on earth) Plant Species:

Yukon Endemic Subspecies and Varieties:

At-Risk Plant Species:

Unique Yukon Plant Communities


Biodiversity is important

There is still much to be learned about the flora of Yukon. As one component in maintaining ecological integrity and protecting the natural heritage of Yukon, we need to have good information about the location and health of unique plant populations.

More information on Yukon plants of conservation concern can be found through the Yukon Conservation Data Centre.


Additional resources




Wildlife Viewing

Environment Yukon

Government of Yukon

Box 2703 (V-5A)
Whitehorse, Yukon
Canada Y1A 2C6

Phone: 867-667-8291
Toll free (in Yukon): 1-800-661-0408 ext. 8291
Fax: 867-393-6263

Email: wildlife.viewing@gov.yk.ca