Riparian: Douglas Fir/Common Snowberry

(6) Riparian: Douglas Fir/Common Snowberry Plant Community
(Pseudotsuga menziesii/Symphoricarpos albus)

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Plant List for Riparian: Douglas Fir/Common Snowberry Plant Community»

Crooked Creek’s vegetation is different from the many other dry communities observed in the Pryors. Walking along the creek is limited because of the steep canyon walls that drop to the creek’s edge. (photo, S. Durney) Crooked Creek’s vegetation is different from the many other dry communities observed in the Pryors. Walking along the creek is limited because of the steep canyon walls that drop to the creek’s edge. (photo, S. Durney)
Crooked Creek and Sage Creek are the two main creeks in the Pryor Mountains. The vegetation near these creeks differs from other vegetation communities in the Pryors. Crooked Creek was chosen because of the magnitude and beauty of the canyon in which the creek lies. Compared to other semi-arid and arid communities on the south side of the Pryors, the Crooked Creek community is moist and lush, although the Douglas Fir represents the transitional area between upland and riparian. This tree provides the overstory shade that retains the moisture in the drainage. Of the sixty-three plant species that we observed in our sampling area along the creek, six are not native to Montana and include Canada thistle (Cirsium ravens), common hound’s-tongue (Cynoglossum official), Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pretenses), meadow fescue (Schedonorus pretenses), common dandelion (Taraxacum official), and red clover (Trifolium pratense).

Livestock grazing is the cause of the introduction and spread of weed species alongside Crooked Creek road and in the riparian area of the creek itself. Management of the allotments should include weed management as part of the lease in order to minimize and mitigate for the current invasion of the noxious weeds Canada thistle and hound’s tongue. Off road vehicle use that strays from the main road also encourage the noxious weed invasion that we see in the Pryors.

The ideal time to enjoy this peaceful riparian place is in mid-June to early July when the wildflowers are in full display.

Western meadowrue (photo, S. Durney) Western meadowrue (photo, S. Durney)

red-osier dogwood (photo, S. Durney) red-osier dogwood (photo, S. Durney)

hooked spur violet (photo, S. Durney) hooked spur violet (photo, S. Durney)

Canada violet (photo, S. Durney) Canada violet (photo, S. Durney)

sticky geranium (photo, S. Durney) sticky geranium (photo, S. Durney)

mountain gooseberry (photo, S. Durney) mountain gooseberry (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.

Parking for this riparian plant community (#6) is 5.2 miles north of the USFS/BLM boundary fence, and 3.8 miles south of the junction of Crooked Creek Rd. and Pryor Mountain Rd. The wide parking area is on the west side of the road at the northwest “corner” of the road’s diversion around a major side drainage into Crooked Creek Canyon.

"P" - Parking area. "6" - Riparian Plant Community.
It is an interesting and easy hike about 1/3 mile down the drainage to Crooked Creek with an elevation gain of about 250 feet coming back to the road. There is no real trail. Start down the wide grassy bottom of the drainage. Eventually some primitive tracks should appear leading to Crooked Creek.

Parking area: GPS Coordinates: N 45.13543, W 108.43534
Study site: GPS Coordinates: N 45.1346°, W 108.4289°. Elevation: about 6,150

* Non-Natives

Box-Elder (Acer negundo)
Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana)
Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)

Western Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
White Sagebrush or mugwort sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. candicans)
Creeping Oregon-grape (Berberis repens)
Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Common Juniper (Juniperus communis)
Alpine Prickly or Mountain Gooseberry (Ribes montigenum)
Canada Buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis)
White or Shiny-Leaf Spirea (Spiraea betulifolia)
Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus var. loevigatus)

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)
Short-stem Onion (Allium brevistylum)
Common Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea)
Pasque Flower or Prairie Crocus (Anemone patens)
Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium)
Heart-Leaf Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)
Field Chickweed (Cerastium arvense)
Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)
Purple or Columbia Clematis (Clematis occidentalis)
Marsh Cinquefoil (Comarum palustre)
Conimitella (Conimitella williamsii)
Showy Aster (Eurybia conspicua)
Woods Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
Virginia Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)
Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale)
Sweet-scented Bedstraw (Galium triflorum)
Richardson’s or White Geranium (Geranium richardsonii)
Sticky Geranium (Geranium viscosissimum)
Cow-Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum)
Mint (Lamiaceae)
Fern-Leaved Biscuitroot or Desert-Parsley (Lomatium dissectum)
Nine-Leaf Biscuitroot or Desert-Parsley (Lomatium triternatum var. triternatum)
Sagebrush or Oblongleaf Bluebells (Mertensia oblongifolia)
Beebalm or Horsemint (Monarda fistulosa var. menthifolia)
Blunt-fruit Sweet-cicely (Osmorhiza depauperata)
Fanleaf Cinquefoil (Potentilla gracilis var. flabelliformis)
Rough-fruited Fairybells (Prosartes trachycarpa)
False Solomon’s-seal or False Spikenard (Smilacina racemosa)
Starry False Solomon’s-seal or Starry Solomon-Plume (Smilacina stellata)
Stemless Four-nerve-daisy or Stemless Hymenoxys (Tetraneuris acaulis)
Western Meadowrue (Thalictrum occidentale)
Narrow-leaved Puccoon or Yellow Gromwell (Lithospermum incisum)
Cordilleran or Downy-Fruit Valerian (Valeriana acutiloba)
American Speedwell (Veronica americana)
Sand or Hook Violet (Viola adunca)
Canada Violet (Viola canadensis)
Yellow Prairie Violet (Viola nuttallii)
Pine or Goosefoot Violet (Viola purpurea)
* Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
* Common Hound’s-Tongue (Cynoglossum officinale)
* Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
* Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Grasses, Sedges, Horsetails
Bluejoint Reedgrass (Calamagrostis canadensis)
Sedge sp. (Carex sp.)
Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Prairie Junegrass (Koeleria macrantha)
*Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)
*Meadow Fescue (Schedonorus pratensis)