Buckbrush Alluvial Fan

Plant Community & Distribution

Big Sagebrush, Artemisia tridentata

Many-branched, erect shrub, strongly aromatic
Height: usually up to 6 feet
Leaves: Grayish-green, 0.5-1.75 inches long, 3 teeth at tip of leaf
Flowers: Yellowish to greenish-gray, small

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Rabbitbrush, Chrysothamnus nauseosus

Shrub with erect, slender branches covered with dense hair
Height: up to 7 feet
Leaves: Very narrow, 0.75-3 inches long
Flowers: Yellow, slender, 0.25-0.5 inches high

Blackbrush, Coleogyne ramosissima

Densely branched, spiny shrub, dark gray to black bark, opposite branches
Height: 1.5-6 feet
Leaves: gray, linear, 0.5 inches long, covered with hairs
Flowers: dry, glabrous, dry
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Mormon Tea, Ephedra spp.

Medium-sized shrub with jointed green, apparently leafless branches with conspicuous nodes.
Height: more than 4 feet
Leaves: scalelike, 2-3 leaves per node
Flowers: small cones

Indian Ricegrass, Oryzopsis hymenoides

Densely tufted, leafy, erect bunchgrass
Height: 7-18 inches
Leaves: dark green, bent along midrib
Fruit: lacy looking panicle, seeds on ends of divided, wavy branches
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Buckbrush Alluvial Fan                   Plant Distribution Results
Location: South of Carson City, Nevada on US HWY 385, left on Stephanie Way to Johnson Lane Park

On November 2, 1998, six transects, using a ten by ten foot grid system, were taken to record soil characteristics and plant abundance and height.   The adjacent topographic map shows the location of each sample site.  The alluvial fan increases in elevation and soil grain size from west to east.  Soil water is inversely proportional to grain size; therefore, available water decreases as grain size increases.  Different plant species require different regimes of soil water for survival.  Therefore, plant height and abundance will vary along the alluvial fan. 

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The above graph illustrates the height variation within different plant species as the elevation and grain size increase along the fan.   (See the topographic map for sample locations) The above graph illustrates how abundance of a plant species varies as the elevation and grain size increase along the fan.  (See the topographic map for sample locations)

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