Tag Archives: Checklist

Plants of Hot Springs Valley: a New Checklist

Phlox diffusa

A couple of years ago, at Grover Hot Springs State Park (in Alpine County, California), I asked if they had a list of plants in the park. “No, but we would sure like one!” So I Googled the topic and found that a botanical survey had been prepared by a group from UC Davis several years earlier, focusing on the flora and plant communities in the meadows and adjacent forest within the park boundaries.

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Near Hot Springs Creek, in the middle of Hot Springs Valley

The field surveys were conducted in 2010 by Ellen Dean and colleagues from the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity. The report was submitted to the California Department of Parks and Recreation in 2011. This survey was very thorough, but it didn’t encompass all of Hot Springs Valley, some of which is outside the park boundaries, within Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Most of the trail to the waterfalls at the west end of the valley (a popular hiking destination) is outside the UC Davis survey area.

Grover Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs Valley and the alkaline meadows below the springs

I wanted a list for the whole valley—covering as much as possible of the areas commonly seen by visitors throughout Hot Springs Valley. So over the last couple of summers I’ve explored the valley and added a few dozen species to the 278 taxa listed in the UC Davis report. I contacted Ellen Dean, who kindly agreed to review and co-author the combined list, providing some other additions and corrections.

Map of Hot Springs Valley

I also prepared a new map of the area. Elevation contours are from the USGS Markleeville quad; trails, roads, and lower Buck Creek are redrawn from Google Earth.

The printed list is available at the park (unless they run out), or you can download a PDF to print yourself, right here. (It’s also on the Plant Lists and Floras page at the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity—go see what else they have to offer.)

Grover Hot Springs is nearly a two-hour drive from Bodie, but these places are connected: they are the two oldest California State Parks on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, the Friends of Grover Hot Springs is a branch of the Bodie Foundation, and over a period of many years, numerous staff have worked at both parks. Now you can also download plant lists for both areas from the same web page.

Grover Hot Springs State Park

The pools at Grover Hot Springs

Copyright © Tim Messick 2017. All rights reserved.

The Checklist: New 2017 Edition

I’ve made some corrections and additions to Plants of the Bodie Hills: an Annotated Checklist, based on some fieldwork and other research during 2016. CLICK HERE to visit the Downloads page. The January 2017 edition of the checklist is a 47-page, 5.1 mb PDF file. [UPDATE, January 16: A few more typos corrected. You may want to download again if you downloaded prior to 1-16-2017.]

Checklist Cover 2017

The Bodie Hills encompass about 417 square miles in northern Mono County, California, western Mineral County, Nevada, and southern-most Lyon County, Nevada. The checklist includes 679 taxa of vascular plants, of which 575 are definitely known to occur in the Bodie Hills and 104 others are considered likely to be present. The list includes 52 families of dicots, 15 families of monocots, and 8 families of vascular cryptogams.

Travertine Hot Springs

Travertine Hot Springs has extensive alkaline wet meadows and dry outcrops.

Cinnabar Canyon

Cinnabar Canyon contains pinyon-juniper woodland and an unusual wet meadow.

Bodie Mountain

Bodie Mountain supports high-altitude sagebrush scrub with lots of
cushion plants and several alpine species.


Bodie is in the south-central Bodie Hills.


Copyright © Tim Messick 2017. All rights reserved.

Available Now: Plants of the Bodie Hills, an Annotated Checklist

Lewisia rediviva var. minor

Lewisia rediviva var. minor

A year ago I decided to update the “Flora of the Bodie Hills” I had written 3.3 decades ago as my MA thesis at Humboldt State University. Why? There have been many nomenclatural and taxonomic changes in the flora, many more species have been found by subsequent collectors in the area, and there is now greatly simplified access to all this information through the internet. The Bodie Hills are rich in plants, wildlife, human history, geological interest, and recreational opportunities. More than ever, the natural resources of the Bodie Hills should be explored, documented, managed, and protected for all who enjoy the area.

Checklist Cover December 2015Plants of the Bodie Hills, an Annotated Checklist is a free, 47-page PDF document (5.1 MB), available for DOWNLOAD HERE. This first edition is dated January 3, 2016. Future editions will be released occasionally, as additions and corrections are made. This annotated checklist is an alphabetized list of plants by family and scientific name, with notes on distribution, habitat, and information gleaned from herbarium specimens. There are currently no keys, photographs, or illustrations, but I hope to add these in the future.  Meanwhile, selected keys, photos, and other natural history notes will be posted occasionally here at BodieHillsPlants.com.

Let me know what you think! And please tell me if you find additional plants in the Bodie Hills or errors that need correcting. Leave a comment below, go to the Contact Page, or email me at tmessick1[at]gmail.com. Thanks!

Masonic Upper Town

Masonic Upper Town (site) and the road south to Bodie

Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.