Alpine flora of San Gorgonio Mountain

Project description: The flora of the San Bernardino Mountains is a fascinating and diverse list of taxa, but the real show of diversity begins above tree line along the higher ridges of the San Gorgonio Wilderness and adjacent areas. San Gorgonio Mountain was the southernmost glaciated peak in western North America, although all that remains as evidence are glacial valleys and cirques — the ice is long gone.

Project goals: Assess and describe the alpine flora of the San Bernardino Mountains, with special focus on phenologies and relationships with other adjacent high mountain peaks in southern California. This project will also include some investigation of the floristic connection with the Rocky Mountains to the northeast sensu Major and Bamberg (see Pubs and Fun Reads).

IMG_8132Boechera sp. nov., a B. platysperma hybrid restricted to the higher ridges of the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California and also in the eastern Sierra Nevada.

IMG_8096Hulsea vestita ssp. pygmaea, (possibly?!) endemic to the higher ridges of the San Bernardino Mountains, southern California.

IMG_0438Oxytropis borealis, new species for the San Bernardino Mountains, found near the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio.

IMG_8045Just another beautiful day in the wilderness, backpacking across the saddle from Mt. San Gorgonio to San Bernardino Peak.

IMG_0430Several flowers of the endemic Silene krantzii in a wonderful display near the Tarn, San Bernardino Mountains.

notes:

– New endemic species described! Read about Silene krantzii here. 2014.
– New species for the range discovered! Oxytropis borealis range extension from the White Mountains of California (Inyo County). Summer 2011.
– Targeted surveys for Boechera peirsonii result in discovery of a different B. lemmonii hybrid in glacial cirque along San Bernardino Peak ridge. Summer 2012.
– Coming soon (join the fun!)… The glacial cirque above Mineshaft Flat (whitewater cirque), north slope of Mt. San Gorgonio and Jepson Peak. Summer 2014.

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