Vegetation is primarily sagebrush steppe and alkaline-tolerant shrubs dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
) with intermixed yellow rabbitbrush (Chrothamnus viscidiflorus), horsebrush (Tetradymia spp.), and slender buckwheat (Eriogonum microthecum).
Native vegetation on both the mainland and Anaho Island is Great Basin desertscrub (Turner, 1994) and dominant species include shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
), four-wing saltbush (A.
Salt desert shrub ecoregions, characterized by less precipitation and alkaline soils, comprise approximately 19% of the OTR and are dominated by Gardner's saltbush Atriplex gardneri, shadscale Atriplex confertifolia
, black greasewood Sarcobatus vermiculatus, mock goldenweed and cushion-like phlox, with sporadic inclusions of Wyoming big sagebrush and basin big sagebrush A.
Holthausen RS, Caldwell MM (1980) Seasonal dynamics of root system respiration in Atriplex confertifolia
. Plant and Soil 55, 307-317.
Effects of Polyploidy on Photosynthetic Rates, Photosynthetic Enzymes, Contents of DNA, Chlorophyll, and Sizes and Numbers of Photosynthetic Cells in the C4 Dicot Atriplex confertifolia
. Plant Physiol., 91: 1143-1151
These shrub species were Shockley's goldenhead (Acamptopappus shockleyi), white bursage (Ambrosia dumosa), shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
), Nevada ephedra (Ephedra nevadensis), winterfat (Krascheninnikovia lanata), range ratany (Krameria erecta), and creosote bush (Larrea tridentata).
The desert landscape is dominated by communities of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata [Asteraceae] and other species of Artemisia), shrubs more than 3 ft (1 m) tall with a vigorous root system, and spiny saltbush Atriplex confertifolia
(Chenopodiaceae) of the Great Basin.
In a synergistic feedback mechanism, the exotic annual understory increased fire spread and loss of big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), winterfat (Kraschenninikovia lanata), and shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
) communities, and further accelerated the spread of annuals (Whisenant 1990, Knick and Rotenberry 1997).
Saline land that would be indicated by salt-lovers like Atriplex confertifolia
(of the saltbush group) or Kochia would support crops only in very rainy years.
The major native vegetative associations are characteristic of shrubsteppe communities in an upper Sonoran life zone: big sagebrush, shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
), and winterfat (Ceratoides lanata).
Vegetation was characterized by cold desert playa (Allenrolfea occidentals dominated), cold desert chenopod shrubland (Atriplex confertifolia
and Kochia Americana dominated) and vegetated dunes at lower elevations, and by arid shrubland (e.g.
The low-lying chenopod habitat was dominated by shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia
) and gray molly (Kochia americana) with some greasewood.