Plant Endemism on Mancos Shale Barrens

Shelley Silva, Tina Ayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During the past decade, three previously undescribed vascular plant species have been documented growing on Mancos Shale barrens in southwest Colorado. Soil chemistry has been correlated with the presence of some rare endemics elsewhere, such as species growing on serpentine soils. However, research on shale barrens suggests that structural components, rather than unique chemistry, more strongly influence endemism on this substrate. The effect of the structural characteristics of the barrens soil was examined in connection with the presence of cushion bladderpod (Physaria pulvinata), a rare barrens endemic. The results suggest that P. pulvinata may be uniquely suited to the shallow soil and low moisture characteristic of the shale barrens habitat. The need for long-term monitoring and management is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalNatural Areas Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Mancos Shale barrens
  • Physaria pulvinata
  • drought
  • edaphic endemism
  • shallow soils
  • southwest Colorado

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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