Quaking Aspen/Tall Forbs

(8) Quaking Aspen/Tall Forbs Plant Community
Populus tremuloides

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PLANT LIST for Quaking Aspen/Tall Forbs Plant Community»

8 DSCN1476 2 s (photo, S. Durney)
Quaking aspen trees occur on cooler slopes where there is sufficient soil moisture. The aspen trees in the Pryor Mountains generally occur on the north side of the range and in riparian corridors. The aspens in the Pryors occur in patches rather than in forests and ecologists have found that individual aspen stems in these patches are likely to be clones that sprouted vegetatively from the buds on the roots or lower stems of a single individual. In fact the entire patch is really one plant.

Punchbowl is an informal name given to a location on the north side of the Pryors where moisture and soil conditions provide ideal conditions for aspen growth. We observed two large stands of aspen along the USFS road into the area. Trees in the first stand were largely infected with a disease or insect invasion but the smaller stand close to the end of the road was healthy. The aspen grove itself was shady, moist and at the height of wildflower blooms in the understory. The margins of the stands open onto mountain meadows with stunning views and wildflowers.

Mountain meadow from aspen stand. (photo, S. Durney) Mountain meadow from aspen stand. (photo, S. Durney)
The Punchbowl aspen area has the highest diversity out of the nine sites that we observed in the Pryor Mountains. We recorded eighty-three species in the aspen community. Only five of these are not native and include common Timothy, Kentucky bluegrass, sheep sorrel, and common dandelion. There was little disturbance observed in the area. There were signs of cattle, minimal grazing and motorized use.

The quaking aspen punchbowl area is staggering contrast to the vegetation communities found on the south side of the Pryor Mountains. This area is peaceful, beautiful and simulates the mountain meadows of Austria in the popular film the Sound of Music.

Outside of the aspen stands are stunning views of the mountains and beautiful plants. (photo, S. Durney) Outside of the aspen stands are stunning views of the mountains and beautiful plants. (photo, S. Durney)

The plant diversity of this area is wonderful and should be cherished by onlookers. (photo, S. Durney) The plant diversity of this area is wonderful and should be cherished by onlookers. (photo, S. Durney)

Return to the main Botanical Guide to Special Places in the Pryors.

Refer the printable Botanical Guide version of the Pryor Mountain Map Set.

Also download and print the Pryor Mountain Road Driving Directions.

Follow the directions for Pryor Mountain Road for 22.6 miles to point “G”. At that point turn left and continue past Sage Creek Campground on Sage Creek Road #2144. (See Pryor Mountain Map Set.)

Continue on Sage Creek Rd #2144 (ignore side routes such as #21442, #2144D, and #2144H). The USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) may help. About 9 miles east from point “G” (the turn from Pryor Mountain Rd toward Sage Creek Campground) route #2144 has a junction with route #2097. At that point #2144 is heading south and turns left (east). (#2097 heads southwest.) Follow #2144 east.
Sage Creek Rd. (#2144) in red from junction with Pryor Mountain Road (#2308) at "G", to Plant Community #8. Detail of the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). Sage Creek Rd. (#2144) in red from junction with Pryor Mountain Road (#2308) at "G", to Plant Community #8. Detail of the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM).
From the junction of route #2144 and #2097 it is about 2.2 miles northeast on #2144 to the Punchbowl site (#8). A high clearance vehicle is required and 4WD is strongly recommended.

Alternatively the final 2.2 miles could be an enjoyable hike or mountain bike ride.

GPS Coordinates: N 45.2074°, W 108.3863°. Elevation: about 6,800 feet.

Sage Creek Rd (#2144, blue) from point mile 22.6 (point "G") on Pryor Mountain Rd. to Quaking Aspen plant community ("8"). Pryor Mountain Rd (#2308) parallels to south. Sage Creek Rd (#2144, blue) from point mile 22.6 (point "G") on Pryor Mountain Rd. to Quaking Aspen plant community ("8"). Pryor Mountain Rd (#2308) parallels to south.


* Non-Natives

Trees
Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)
Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Shrubs
Saskatoon or Western Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Big Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana)
Creeping Oregon-grape (Berberis repens)
Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora)
Common Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Missoula Phlox (Phlox kelseyi var. missoulensis)
Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)
Alpine Prickly or Mountain Gooseberry (Ribes montigenum)
Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii)

Forbs
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Common Pearly-Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Pasque Flower or Prairie-crocus (Anemone patens)
Littleleaf Pussytoes or Rosy Pussy-Toes (Antennaria microphylla)
Pussytoes (Antennaria sp.)
Nuttall’s Rockcress (Arabis nuttallii)
Sharptip or Ballhead Sandwort (Arenaria congesta var. cepahaloidea)
Heart-Leaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
Hillside or Orange Arnica (Arnica fulgens)
Hoary Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza incana)
Wyoming Kittentail (Besseya wyomingensis)
Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense)
Slender Hawksbeard (Crepis atribarba)
Naked-stem or Meadow Hawksbeard (Crepis runcinata)
Little Larkspur (Delphinium bicolor)
Bonneville or Slimpod Shooting Star (Dodecatheon conjugens)
Glacier Lily (Erythronium grandiflorum)
Woods Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Virginia Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Green Gentian or Giant Frasera (Frasera speciosa)
Bedstraw sp. (Galium sp.)
Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale)
Sweet-scented Bedstraw (Galium triflorum)
Richard’s or White Geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
Sweet-vetch (Hedysarum sp.)
Yellow Sweet-vetch (Hedysarum sulphurescens)
Hairy Goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa)
Sweet Pea (Lathyrus sp.)
Small-flower Woodland-star (Lithophragma parviflorum)
Western Gromwell (Lithospermum ruderale)
Cous Biscuitroot (Lomatium cous)
Nineleaf Biscuitroot (Lomatium triternatum)
Silvery Lupine (Lupinus argenteus)
Sagebrush or Oblong-leaf Bluebells (Mertensia oblongifolia)
Yellowstone Saxifrage (Micranthes hieraciifolia)
Beebalm or Horsemint (Monarda fistulosa)
Blunt-fruit Sweet-cicely (Osmorhiza depauperata)
Crazyweed (Oxytropis sp.)
American Bistort (Polygonum bistortoides)
Elegant or Early Cinquefoil (Potentilla concinna)
Fanleaf or Slender Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis)
Sheep Cinquefoil (Potentilla ovina)
Sagebrush Buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus)
Woodland or Little Buttercup (Ranunculus uncinatus)
Lanceleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum)
False Solomon’s-seal or False Spikenard (Smilacina racemosa)
White or Showy-Leaf Spirea (Spiraea betulifolia)
Longleaf Stitchwort (Stellaria longifolia)
Western Meadowrue (Thalictrum occidentale)
Cordilleran or Downy-Fruit Valerian (Valeriana acutiloba)
Speedwell (Veronica sp.)
Sand or Hook Violet (Viola adunca)
Canada Violet (Viola canadensis)
Nuttall’s or Yellow Prairie Violet (Viola nuttallii)
Glaucous Zigadenus (Zigadenus elegans)
Mountain or Meadow Deathcamas (Zigadenus venenosus)
* Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
* Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
* Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Grasses
Sedge sp.(Carex sp.)
Geyer’s or Elk Sedge (Carex geyeri)
Idaho Fescue (Festuca idahoensis)
Colorado Rush (Juncus confusus)
Parry’s Rush (Juncus parryi)
Spike-Fescue (Leucopoa kingii)
* Meadow or Common Timothy (Phleum pratense)
* Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)