Rocky Mountain Subalpine-High Montane Meadow
Rocky Mountain & Vancouverian Subalpine-High Montane Mesic Meadow
SWAP General Vegetation Type
ALPINE and MONTANE VEGETATION
Rocky Mountain Subalpine-High Montane Meadow [M168] is comprised of graminoid- or forb-dominated mesic meadows and subalpine grasslands at 2,200-3,000 m (7,200-9,800 ft) (3,350 m (11,000 ft) on warm aspects) elevation mostly in the Southern Rocky Mountains and Arizona/New Mexico Mountains ecoregions. Characteristic grass species in montane and subalpine grasslands include Parry’s oatgrass (Danthonia parryi), Arizona fescue, Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), Thurber’s fescue (F. thurberi), and mountain muhly along with a sometimes diverse set of relatively dry forbs such as Indian paintbrush species (Castilleja spp.), pingue rubberweed (Hymenoxys richardsonii), sidebells penstemon (Penstemon secundiflorus), wooly cinquefoil (Potentilla hippiana), and Rocky Mountain goldenrod (Solidago multiradiata). Mesic meadows tend to be forb-dominated and include common yarrow (Achillea millefolium), bluebell bellflower (Campanula rotundifolia), fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), aspen fleabane (Erigeron speciosus), largeleaf avens (Geum macrophyllum), common cowparsnip (Heracleum maximum), and arrowleaf ragwort (Senecio triangularis), among others. Graminoids form a minor component and are usually mesic taxa with relatively broad and soft blades such as California brome (Bromus carinatus), smallwing sedge (Carex microptera), and tufted hairgrass (Deschampsia caespitosa). Broadleaf deciduous shrubs, such as shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda) and snowberry (Symphoricarpos spp.), are often present, but do not dominate. This habitat occurs in a wide variety of environments where finely-textured soils, snow deposition, rocky substrates, or windswept, dry conditions limit tree establishment. Grasslands occur on flat to rolling plains, in intermontane parks, and on dry sideslopes, especially with south and west aspects. Mesic meadows occur in swales that lose their snow cover relatively late in the season.