The trail winds through scrub pine at the bottom, then onto a talus slope. Lassen is a rhyolite dome, one of the largest of its type in the world. Rhyolite domes expand from inside, sloughing off the outside (hardened) layers of lava on the outside, so that the skin of a dome ends up consisting primarily of loose chips of rock.
Few plants live near the top, in the loose chips, but some animals do: golden mantled ground squirrels (which seem to live on handouts from hikers), and flying animals such as ravens and, when we were there, a swarm of butterflies (preyed upon by the ravens).
From the top, the view of Mt Shasta is glorious on a clear day (which this wasn't, alas), and you can look down into the crater and see the landscape of the crater itself, which erupted less than a hundred years ago.