By Scott Smith:
The summer of 2010, between the months of June and September I started what I thought would be an easy filed survey. How hard could it be to complete a Fern and Orchid survey in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains? Hard, way harder than I ever imagined. I accomplished maybe half the trails that I wanted survey on. Finding roads that are few and far between areas that I wanted to go to was the first trick. Finding ways around the Private Property holdings was another trick. I also included into this survey parts of the Wet Mountains that are so close and almost are adjoining each other on the northern side at the Arkansas River.
The good news is that by the end of summer I managed to find 5-6 new ferns that had not been previously documented for the Sangre de Cristo Mountains Range in Colorado. These ferns were Botrychium ferns; Botrychium echo, Botrychium minganense, Botrychium neolunaria, Botrychium pinnatum, Botrychium spathulatum and Botrychium tunux. Two of these Botrychium are still out at the University for Genetic Analysis. Most of these 5-6 ferns are of a rare nature, two being very rare in Colorado. I found and expanded a population of the rare Asplenium trichomanes ssp. ramosum fern or Green Spleenwort fern. Previously known from this area, but not in such a quantity. Probably the largest known population in the state. Many other ferns were found in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and will be listed below. Several rare Native orchids were found along multiple not so rare orchids or the common orchids of Colorado. The rare ones were Cypripedium parviflorum ssp. pubescens, Epipactus gigantea and Platanthera tescamnis. The populations of Yellow Lady Slippers are pretty small and were previously documented. The Epipactus gigantea population is a monstrous population. I would imagine this is the largest population in the state. Literally thousands of plants. In total 31 species of ferns were found and 12 species of orchids were found. This survey will continue again next summer with many more forays into the Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountains of Colorado. Once was not even close enough. It seems that I have only yet begun. I believe there to be many more species of ferns and orchids to be found.
Argyrochosma fendleri, or Zigzag Cliff Brake
Asplenium septentrionale, or Grass Fern
Asplenium trichomanes ssp. ramosum, or Green Maiden Hair Spleenwort
Asplenium trichomanes ssp. trichomanes, or Maiden hair Spleenwort
Athyrium filix-femina, or Lady Fern
Botrychium echo, or Reflective Moonwort
Botrychium hesperium, or Western Moonwort
Botrychium lanceolatum, or Lance leaf Moonwort
Botrychium minganense, or Mingans Moonwort
Botrychium neolunaria, or Common Moonwort
Botrychium pinnatum, or St. Johns Moonwort
Botrychium spathulatum, or Spatulate Moonwort
Botrychium tunux, or Moosewort Moonwort
Cheilanthes feei, or Slender Lip Fern
Cheilanthes fendleri, or Fendlers Lip Fern
Cryptogramma acrostichoides, or Parsley Fern
Cryptogramma stelleri, or Slender rock Brake
Cystopteris fragilis, or Fragile Fern
Cystopteris reevesiana, or Reeves Fern
Dryopteris filix-mas, or Male Fern
Equisetum arvense, or Field Horsetail
Equisetum hyemale, or Common Scouring Rush
Equisetum laevigatum, or Smooth Scouring rush
Polypodium saxamontanum, or Mountain Polypody
Selaginella densa, or Crowed Spikemoss
Selaginella mutica, or Blunted Spikemoss
Selaginella underwoodii, or Underwoods Spikemoss
Pteridium aquilinum ssp. pubescens, or Bracken Fern
Woodsia oregana ssp. cathartiana, or Western Cliff Fern
Woodsia neomexicana, or Mountain Cliff Fern
Woodsia ssp., or Unknown Cliff Fern
Calypso bulbosa, or Fairyslipper Orchid
Corallorhiza macualata, or Spotted Coralroot Orchid
Corallorhiza striata, or Stripped Coralroot Orchid
Corallorhiza trifida, or Green Coralroot Orchid
Corallorhiza wisteriana, or Wisters Coralroot Orchid
Cypripedium parviflorum ssp. pubescens, or Yellow Lady Slipper
Epipactus gigantea, or Chatterbox Orchid
Goodyera oblongifolia, or Rattlesnake Orchid
Goodyera repens, or Lesser Rattlesnake Orchid
Platanthera huronensis, or Green Bog Orchid
Platanthera purpurascens, or Green Bog orchid
Platanthera tescamnis, or
Other plants of Note;
Morchella esculenta orBlack Morel Mushroom, Pyrola picta or White veined Wintergreen, and Viola selkirkii or Selkirk’s violet.
Trips were made into the Following areas of the Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountains:
Poncha Hot Springs Drainage, close to Poncha Springs Colorado.
Methodist Mountain at Salida Colorado.
Bushnell Lakes Trail, by Coaldale Colorado.
Hayden Pass Road East side, by Coaldale Colorado.
Rainbow Trail, by Coaldale Colorado.
Middle and North Prongs of Hayden Creek by Coaldale Colorado.
Newlin Creek Trail by Florence Colorado.
Greenhorn Mountain Road, by Lake Isabel Colorado.
Music Pass Road, by Westcliffe Colorado.
South Colony Lake Road by Westcliffe Colorado.
Rainbow Trail by Westcliffe Colorado.
Stonewall Gap, by Stonewall Colorado.
Trinchera Peak Road, by Cuchara Colorado.
Zapata Falls Trail, by the Great Sand Dunes Colorado.
Zapata Creek Trail, by the Great Sand Dunes Colorado.
Mosca Pass Trail East and West Side, by the Great Sand Dunes Colorado.
Major Creek Trail, by Villa Groove Colorado.
Valley View Hot Springs by Villa Groove Colorado.