Great Basin Naturalist


Erigeron kachinensis is a rare endemic of the Colorado Plateau in southeastern Utah. This perennial composite grows in small, isolated populations at seeps and alcoves arising along canyon walls in Cedar Mesa Sandstone substrates. Characteristics of six Erigeron kachinensis sites in Natural Bridges National Monument, San Juan County, Utah, were studied to determine habitat requirements for this species. Sites were analyzed with respect to geology, soil chemistry, physical properties, and vegetational characteristics. The alcoves studied were very saline, often with soil surfaces covered with a white crust of salt. Living cover was enhanced by perennially moist soils, diminished amounts of solar radiation, soil salinity, and above-average amounts of available soil phosphorus. Kachina daisy vegetative growth appears to be favored by these same abiotic factors. The most commonly associated plant species on E. kachinensis sites were Aquilegia micrantha, Calamagrostis scopulorum, Zigadenus vaginatus, and Erigeron kachinensis. These species and the daisy accounted for more than 75% of the total living cover in the alcoves studied. A principal components analysis procedure was developed for evaluating site suitability for Erigeron kachinensis. This daisy has been successfully introduced to a site selected using that model.