Great Basin Naturalist


White locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nutt.) is restricted to the top and windswept ridges of the Raft River Mountains. Elevation and soil characteristics have the greatest effect on its occurrence. It is most abundant on the subalpine windswept ridge ecological site (9.2 plants/m2) above 2,380 m. White locoweed apparently can tolerate the extreme environmental stresses of the shallow, rocky, windswept ridges where it is one of the dominant species. White locoweed also occurs in the deep, subalpine loam site (3.8 plants/m2) above 2,865 m, but it is a minor component of this plant community. It is apparently less competitive on the deeper soils, and its population fluctuates more. It exhibits an opportunistic survival strategy on the subalpine loam site by having a large reserve of viable seeds in the soil ready to germinate and establish when environmental conditions are favorable, and then declines with competition from more robust species.