There are at least 20 endemic species in the Spring Mountains. This means these species are found nowhere else in the world. The USDA Forest Service, along with Go Mt Charleston, is working to help conserve these species and the environment they call home. The following is a list of the endemic plants and what you can do to help protect these sensitive species:
• Rough Angelica
Rough Angelica is a perennial flowering plant with large, serrated leaves. The white flowers of the Rough Angelica bloom in the spring and prefer gravelly washes, avalanche paths, and moist habitats. Look for this endemic plant when hiking through Fletcher Canyon.
- Charleston Violet
Charleston Violet is a perennial flowering plant with a single stalk that holds a solitary yellow flower. The yellow flowers of the Charleston Violet have five petals and bloom from May to June. Leaves of the Charleston Violet are thick, ashy, and purple beneath. Look for these flowers in washes and meadows, rocky slopes, hillsides, and talus slopes.
• Clokey’s Egg Milkvetch
Clokey’s Egg Milkvetch is a perennial forb that grows low to the ground. The Clokey’s Egg Milkvetch flowers are purple, and the seed pods found on this plant are mottled. The leaves of the Clokey’s Egg Milkvetch are elliptic to obovate. This plant is found on open slopes in gravelly limestone forests.
• Clokey’s Milkvetch
Clokey’s Milkvetch is a flowering perennial with sparse, narrow leaflets. The flowers of this plant are yellow with a slight tinge of lavender. The seed pods of this plant are pinkish in color. This plant can be found in dry, rocky, and gravely areas in the mountains above 8,000 feet.
• King’s Rosy Sandwort
King’s Rosy Sandwort is a low-growing plant with small leaves. Leaves of this plant are small needle-like, forming tufts at the base and along the stems. The flower of the King’s Rosy Sandwort is white with a yellowish center.
This plant is found in Pinyon-juniper woodlands and dry slopes.
• Charleston Mountain Goldenbush
The Charleston Mountain Goldenbush is a branching shrub that can grow up to 50 cm tall. The leaves of this bush are linear and flattened. One plant can form many small, yellow flower heads, with as many as 16-disc florets. The Charleston Mountain Goldenbush can be found in forested slopes, adjacent ridges, and low outcrops in the subalpine and montane conifer zones along with Bristlecone Pine, Limber Pine, and Ponderosa Pine.
- Clokey’s Greasebush
Clokey’s Greasebush is a rare species of the Spring Mountains. It is woody with dark green branches. The flowers of the Clokey’s Greasebush are white with five petals. This plant can be found on limestone cliff faces and crevices.
• Jaeger’s Ivesia
Jaeger’s Ivesia is a perennial herb that grows in matted clumps. The leaves are thin, naked stems that hang from steep cliffs. The stems have clustered flowers with yellow petals. This plant can be found in limestone and sandstone cliffs and crevices.
• Charleston Ground-daisy
The Charleston Ground-daisy is a low-growing perennial plant with large white to rose-purple, daisy-like flowers, and narrow linear leaves.
• Spring Mountains Rockcress
The Spring Mountains Rockcress is a short-lived perennial plant. The flowers of this plant are lavender, and the leaves are elongated 1 cm in length. The fruit of this plant is straight to slightly curved. You can find this plant on ledges and talus slopes of limestone cliffs.
• Charleston Mountain Draba
The Charleston Mountain Draba is an evergreen with simple leaves arranged in rosettes. This plant produces light greenish to yellow flowers in June and July. The Charleston Mountain Draba can be found in moist to wet environments, often sheltered soils on drainage banks, rock ledges, near seeps, in avalanche chutes, and near snowdrift, mainly in the subalpine conifer zone.
• Charleston Beardtongue
The Charleston Beardtongue is a low-growing flowering plant in the Plantain family. Leaves grow at the base of this plant along the stem and are hairless, unlobed, and untoothed. The flowers of the Charleston Beardtongue are purple and arranged in an open cluster at the top of the stem, and all face the same direction.
Look for this beautiful flower on gravelly slopes at or near timberline.
• Charleston Tansy
The Charleston Tansy is a perennial flowering plant with a woody base and alternate leaves. The stem of the Charleston Tansy is 2-5 cm tall and bears one flower head. This plant can be found on talus slopes and cliff crevices and blooms from July to August.
• Charleston Mountain Kittentail
The Charleston Mountain Kittentail is a low-growing perennial plant with orbicular, toothed leaves. The leaves are covered with fine hairs. These plants can be found in moist soils around cliffs, boulders, and banks.
Here are some tips to help protect these sensitive species when you visit the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
• Help minimize the spread of invasive species-use the boot brushes at the trailhead before and after hiking.
• Watch where you step, or ride-many of the plants are small and easy to trample.
• Leave what you find-Please do not pick the flowers.
• Take only pictures.