A taxonomic and ecologic study of the vascular plants of a section of the Owyhee River Canyon in Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/73666888q

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  • A taxonomic and ecologic study was made of the vascular plants of a section of the Owyhee River Canyon of Malheur County, Oregon. The particular study area is known as Three Forks, and is located at the junction of the North Fork of the Owyhee River, East Fork of the Owyhee River, and Little Owyhee River. The Three Forks canyon is a relatively broad portion of a river canyon which cuts through the high plateau country of southeastern Oregon. The plateau has been built up of sedimentary material from the Tertiary period, and then covered by layers of lava poured out in Pliocene times or later. The three streams flowing into Three Forks arise from various points in southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada, and southeastern Oregon. The first white inhabitants of Three Forks arrived in 1863, although Indians had probably occupied the area for centuries previously. Since that time, farming has been the primary occupation of many settlers. The closest ranch today is about six miles from Three Forks. Little evidence of grazing can be seen. No fires have been recorded for the area. The climate of Three Forks is one of hot dry summers and cold winters, Most of the approximately 13 inches of precipitation falls in the winter and spring. The years of l956 and 1957 had above average moisture conditions. Collections were made periodically throughout the growing season of 1957 and part of 1958. An attempt was made to collect specimens of every species of vascular plant. When collections were made, ecological notes were taken. These notes were correlated into a description of vegetation, with an attempt to define plant associations. Three horizontal belts of vegetation were distinguished, encompassing 13 plant associations. The main body of the thesis deals with the taxonomic treatment, and consists of keys constructed to classes, and species, with descriptions of genera and species. The study area yielded a total of 211 species, classified into l48 genera and 45 families. Of special interest was the discovery of a new, undescribed species of Artemisia.
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