Great Basin Naturalist


Life forms and floral characteristics of plants at Arches National Park (desert communities), the Mt. Nebo complex, and a subalpine meadow in the Uinta Mountains (montane and subalpine communities) were compared. Characteristics observed were (1) life form, (2) longevity, (3) pollination system, (4) flower structure, (5) flower symmetry, and (6) flower color. Common families in each flora were also compared. Results showed that there is a significant overrepresentation of shrub species at Arches, and an underrepresentation of perennial forbs. Relative number of perennial forb species was significantly higher at Mt. Nebo and the subalpine meadow than at Arches National Park. Native annuals and wind-pollinated species were significantly overrepresented at Arches. Flowers with open structure that permit free access of most insects to nectar and pollen were overrepresented at Mt. Nebo and in the subalpine meadow. The distribution of flower colors also differs significantly among these ecologically contrasting floras, with yellow being best represented in the desert and white in the mountains.