Trees and Shrubs
The Aspen type occurs on mesic sites in these scenarios: along the base of Cundick Ridge and in valleys below springs and seeps, below ridges where the prevailing west wind causes snow accumulation during winters with average (or more) snowfall and wind, and on north-facing slopes which remain in shadow throughout much of the day. The Aspen type is dominated by aspen trees (Populus tremuloides).
Mixed Timber type occurs primarily on steep north-facing and east-facing slopes where soils are shallow, and often calcareous. Limber pine (Pinus flexilis), Douglas fir (Pseudotusuga menziesii), and aspen dominate the Mixed Timber type. Mountain Shrub type occurs on sites similar to those that support the Mixed Timber. It appears to be a successional precursor to the Mixed Timber type because it sometimes dominates burned areas that once supported stands of the Aspen and Mixed Timber types. Also, conifer seedlings are seen in many areas currently supporting Mountain Shrub communities. Mountain mahogany (Cercocarpos montanus), Utah serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis), and mountain snowberry (Symphoricarops oreophilus) are the dominant shrubs in the Mountain Shrub type.
The Wet Meadow type is dominated by Baltic rush (Juncus balticus) and sedge species (Carex spp.). Many other forb and grass species are present in the Wet Meadow community. Silver sagebrush (Artemesia cana) dominates drier sites, and willow species (Salix spp.) sometimes occur in more mesic sites. The Cottonwood and Willow vegetation types occupy, at most, a few acres where seepage or artesian springs keep the soil rather wet. The Saline type is dominated by black greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus) and Gardner's saltbush (Atriplex gardneri). Saline vegetation is usually sparse, and there are usually patches of barren ground where the soil is encrusted with white deposits of salt.
Did You Know?
Approximately 300 elk winter in Fossil Butte National Monument and are often visible from the visitor center.