Great Basin Naturalist


Vascular plant communities surrounding Benton Hot Springs, Mono County, California, were studied. The springs complex is comprised of two thermal springs, a thermal stream, and a cooling pond. Water temperatures varied from 57 C in one hot spring to 45 C at the cooling pond. The vegetation showed concentric zones about the springs and cooling pond and parallel zones beside the stream. Each zone demonstrated its own dominant plant species with some species being present in two or more zones. A total of six zones were identified plus an algal mat on the springs themselves. Soil factor patterns varied from spring to desert as did vegetational parameters. Soil moisture appeared responsible for most of the patterns observed.