Description of plant community.
little sand on a mountain of dolomitic lime and you have Bristle
cone Pines. pH 6-7, areas of lower pH are where the pines move
An island in the middle of the
desert, this Bristlecone Pine Forest plant community is so
beautiful in its two months of glory. The rest of the year it is
not friendly. The pH is slightly alkaline to slightly aciditic,
rainfall is low (15 inches,), and the dolomitic soils never
really get wet except maybe one week in late spring. Humidity is
always low, and the lowest temperature recorded was -50F. Snow
pack is not reliable and usually light. On north slopes the trees
grow on granitic soils and sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)
becomes dominant. Patchy is a good description of the area and
the plant community, with a few spots of riparian plants, open
meadows (the edges are where many of the perennials occur), and
with fingers of sagebrush extending into the areas between the
widely spaced pines. This is a really nasty place to get caught
in with limited shelter in winter.
A few plants that grow here are
Pine (Pinus longaeva), sagebrush (Artemisia
arbuscula and Artemisia nova), Sierra
Penstemon (Penstemon heterodoxus), and Mountain
Mint (Monardella odoratissima).