Plant Checklist for the Rocky Mountain National Park
My photographic endeavors in the Rocky
Mountain National Park (RMNP) began in August 2015 where a few hundred
photos were taken. Because photos are more valuable when accompanied by
a voucher specimen (a dried, pressed, labeled specimen deposited in a
herbarium), I decided to apply for a permit to collect specimens within
the Park. This permit was obtained in 2016 and since then I have
collected and photographed a relatively large number of plants in the
RMNP and some other areas in Colorado.
These web pages were constructed to
allow me better access to information on plants in the RMNP and
simultaneously allow others to access this information. The original
list of plants (as an Excel spreadsheet) was obtained from Jim Bromberg
(Restoration Ecologist, Division of Resource Stewardship, RMNP). I
edited this list, removing names of plants that clearly do no occur in
the Park and adding other names of plants that are known to occur here.
After doing this, I found that lists of plants, animals, fungi, etc. can
be obtained for all US National Parks at the NPSpecies web site HERE.
Because new records for the Park would likely come from plants already
recorded from the surrounding region, I included records from the
following Colorado counties: Larimer, Boulder, Jackson, Grand, and
Weld. Those records were determined by consulting Ackerfield
(2015, Flora of Colorado). Records from Laramie and Albany counties in
Wyoming were not examined. If the record contains information on
abundance (Common, Abundant, Uncommon, Rare, Unknown), these data derive
from the original Bromberg spreadsheet for RMNP.
A list of all vascular plant records from the USDA Plants website for the state of Colorado was downloaded and used in assembling this information. Authorities for all scientific names were checked using IPNI, USDA Plants Database, Taxonomic Name Resolution Service, Flora North America (for those Families Published) and The Plant List. The taxonomy used generally follows Ackerfield (2015) but with some additions from the USDA list (these are indicated in the particular species accounts). Family circumscriptions again follow Ackerfield (2015), with some exceptions (e.g. Hypericaceae vs. Clusiaceae, Primulaceae vs. Myrsinaceae, Thesiaceae vs. Santalaceae, etc.). Those family concepts derive from newer (often molecular phylogenetic) data that are sometimes (but not always) reflected in the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classifications (the latest is APG IV).
Links (URLs) to the Phytoimages and
USDA Plants websites are provided for all species names. These links
were generated by using the plant species (binomials) and thus do not go
to the varietal or subspecific ranks. Although all names are linked to
PhytoImages, not all species are populated with photographs. This was
done to allow a link to exist should photos be added in the future. All
but one name (Cryptantha exigua
Osterh.) are linked to pages on the USDA Plants site, however, some
variation exists as to which name is considered accepted vs. a synonym.
Because these data were assembled manually, some errors have almost certainly been introduced. I would appreciate feedback should anyone detect errors or improvements on the science being reported here.
As of October 2018, 55% (1038) of the 1896 species listed on this site for the RMNP and surrounding areas have at least one photo on PhytoImages. The following table summarizes the numbers by plant group: