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Red Mountain Open Space and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area: botanical inventory, distribution maps of several species of interest, and field guide to the most common plants




McAleer, Jenna M., author
Simmons, Mark, advisor
Steingraeber, David, committee member
Coleman, Robert, committee member

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I inventoried the vascular plants of two natural areas in north-central Colorado, Red Mountain Open Space (RMOS) and Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (SPNA), which encompass roughly 33,000 acres of predominantly shortgrass prairie and foothills shrubland habitats. I collected and/or documented 438 unique taxa from 78 distinct plant families across both regions; 328 taxa from 76 families at RMOS and 312 taxa from 64 families at SPNA. I documented 13 taxa of conservation concern, 65 non-native taxa, and a total of 196 new area records (169 at RMOS and 41 at SPNA). While inventorying the flora of RMOS and SPNA, I also noted the distributions of eight species of interest, as designated by Larimer County and City of Fort Collins officials, for the purpose of conservation and/or monitoring: Cirsium flodmanii, Linaria dalmatica, Mentzelia speciosa, Mirabilis linearis, Pediomelum esculentum, Penstemon eriantherus, Solidago ptarmicoides, and Stephanomeria runcinata. In addition, I created an easy-to-use field guide for the novice plant enthusiast that highlights the most common plants encountered along the public trail network within RMOS and SPNA. The creation of this guide had significant overlap with an already proposed field guide to the flora of the foothills of Larimer County, and as such, I joined a team of Larimer County officials and volunteers to help develop content for an upcoming guide, Foothills Plant and Flower Guide, with an expected publication date of Fall 2014.


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