Great Basin Naturalist


Cliffrose (Cowania mexicana var. stansburiana [Torr.] Jepson) community measurements were taken in central Utah. Data revealed a high between-site similarity of 78.5%. Soil analysis for sites showed most macronutrients, and some micronutrients, relatively low. Cover of cliffrose was found to increase with increases in soil magnesium (p ≤ 0.01). Plants growing on the sites have adapted life cycles to exploit moisture and nutrients during seasons of maximum availability. Prevalent species in the community were cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), cliffrose, madwort (Alyssum alyssoides), and bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum). Annual grasses were the most important life form to community composition; the second was shrubs. Ratios between soil nutrients and cliffrose tissue nutrients indicate active transport of some elements. Data indicated a steady decline in establishment of new cliffrose individuals on the sites since 1957. This lack of reproductive success is most likely due to a combination of factors but appears most influenced by the elevated levels of annual plants (mainly cheatgrass) on the sites. If the cliffrose communities in central Utah are to be maintained, special attention to their management must be considered and implemented.