Front Range, Eastern Slope, Rocky Mountains Checklist Flora of Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants of Golden and Vicinity, Jefferson County, Colorado  

Tom Schweich  

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 Golden, Colorado sits in a valley formed by erosion along the Golden fault, the geotectonic boundary between the North American Cordillera and the Great Plains. Somewhat like Mono Lake, for which I have also prepared a checklist flora, it sits at a boundary, or perhaps ecotone. Things are always more interesting at the boundaries. I started this project when I realized no such list had been prepared for my newly adopted city. I hope you find this checklist flora helpful. Please write to me if you have questions or comments.





  Do you just want to see the checklist? Click: Plant Check List for Golden, Jefferson County, United States.
  It is probably fair to ask why one would prepare a local flora.

There are many sources of information about plant names, their descriptions, and how to identify them. There are numerous published floras for the whole state of Colorado, Colorado east slope and west slope, and the Intermountain Region, not to mention the less-scholarly wildflower books. The various data bases will permit preparation of plant lists for a location, or a range of geographic coordinates, will also giving link to further web sites such as Flora of North America (FNANM) an Encyclopedia of Life. These are all excellent resources. I used them all myself in the preparation of this flora. Data base lists selected by geographic coordinates, and those selected by named localities, were used to provide an initial list of collections. The published floras of larger regions were used to check on names, descriptions, and distribution.

However, the editing process of reviewing collections, and reviewing the absence of collections, provides the benefits that come from preparing a local flora:

  1. Apply local knowledge of geography to collections, their name determinations, and georeferencing. Living in a location can give a better understanding of local geography, and the location of historic reference points. This makes it easier to compare georeferencing to described collecting location.

  2. Identify questionable collections or determinations. Some examples might be:

    1. A collection dated 1822 from Golden, although Golden was not named until 1859. This turned out to be an E. L. Greene collection from 1872.
    2. A collection to which two different names have been applied. For example, E. H. Brunquist's PM-123 is determined as Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng at KHD, and C. ochrocentrum A. Gray at CS. The thing to do is to look at both vouchers and determine which name should be applied, or whether the collection was really a mixed collection.
    3. A little more subtle case occurs when there are many single collections a related taxa. For example, among Oenothera and Gaura (which is sometimes placed in Oenothera), there are nine taxa for which there is only one collection in Golden and vicinity, and the remaining four taxa collected here have only two collections each. It seems unusual that there would be so many single collections of a taxon, and perhaps some of them are misidentified.

  3. Identify gaps in collections. Why hasn't an expected common species found in a certain area?

    For example, I found what I thought was Brickellia californica on North Table Mountain. Yet my data base searches yielded no records of collections. Searching again for all collections of B. californica in Jefferson and surrounding counties showed a single collection of the taxon by Loraine Yeatts on South Table Mountain. However, the collection had been georeferenced incorrectly and would not have appeared in a simple data base query. I have added that collection (and taxon name) to the local flora, and sent a comment to the herbarium about the incorrect coordinates.

  4. Fill in gaps in collections, collect in under-collected areas, or of under-collected plants.

    For example, mapping the locations of collections that can be georeferenced showed that there are few collections from the lower slopes of Lookout Mountain and no collections from the small northern portion of Dakota Ridge near the Rooney Road Sports Complex. These areas may now be targeted for collecting.

  5. Identify plants that may have been extirpated, or may be new arrivals.

    An example might be my collection 1109 of Balsamorhiza sagittata on Tin Cup Ridge. Usually this plant is described as being on the west slope only. How did it get here to the east slope? Generally, it is suggested that it was planted. But, was it intentionally planted in an out of the way place? Or planted by a bird? Or other animal?

  6. Understand the history of botanic or floristic work in a local area. Who collected? Why?

Literature Cited:
- Ackerfield, Jennifer, 2015.
- Baldwin, Bruce G., Douglas H. Goldman, David J. Keil, Robert Patterson, and Thomas J. Rosatti, 2012.
- Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds., 1993+.
- Harrington, H. D., 1954.
- The Plant List, 2013.
- USDA, NRCS, 2014.
- Weber, William A., and Ronald C. Wittmann, 2012.  

Generally, I try to follow nomenclature of the Flora of North America (1993+). When a plant name is found in a published volume of FNANM, I will use it.

In the case of unpublished volumes of FNANM, I generally review multiple sources, starting with Ackerfield (2015), the Plant List (, USDA Plants, the Jepson Manual, Weber and Wittmann (2012), and Harrington (1954), and then pick a modern name in common usage. As additional volumes of FNANM are published, some of the names may have to change.

Once a name is selected, different names given in Ackerfield (2015), Weber and Wittmann (2012), or Harrington (1954), are listed as synonyms.








Golden City Limits


Other articles:
• Illinois Street:   at Golf Club;
• Kinney Run Trail:  w. of 6th;
• Salvia Street:  Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex;

Locations: Eagle Ridge. Fossil Trace Golf Club. Golden. Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex.
Full Size ImageCity Limits of Golden, Jefferson County, Colorado  

The boundaries of incorporated Golden are quite irregular. They stretch from I-70 on the south to north of Golden Gate Canyon on the north. The western boundary includes significant portions of the slopes of Lookout Mountain, but do not extend to a ridge line or natural boundary for the purposes of this flora. On the east side, the Coors Technology Center comprises a large isolated incorporated area north of 44th and west of MacIntyre. This results in incorporated Golden on the east and west sides of North Table Mountain, but the mountain itself is not part of the City of Golden. Only a small part of South Table Mountain is within the City of Golden. Pleasant Valley is unincorporated Jeferson County, but there are irregular sections, including a business park south of 6th and east of Indiana.

Within the City of Golden, there are a few parcels that are city-owned, and large enough to be collected. The Fossil Trace Golf Course occupies 216 ac. (87 ha.). It is not really a hotbed of biodiversity, but the elk like to hang out there in the winter. City-owned open space on the west and south slopes of North Table Mountain comprises 135 ac. (54 ha.). Eagle Ridge is the third largest parcel at 79 ac. (32 ha.) and the Grampsas Sport Complex contains 58 ac. (24 ha.). There is a small hilly parcel near the top of Washington Avenue of 4 ac. (1.6 ha.). This last parcel is perhaps the most interesting as it contains a relatively intact small (1.5 ac.) remnant mixed-grass prairie on the top of the hill.



Golden sensu latu (s.l.)


Locations: Golden.
Full Size ImageWorking definition of “Golden,” Colorado, and Vicinity  

In describing “Golden” in the broad sense, I have attempted to smooth the boundaries of the incorporated City of Golden, look for natural boundaries, and avoid development encroaching on open space, e.g., north slope of North Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Pine Ridge Road:   at city limit;  

From the northwest corner of Golden on Pine Ridge Road, the boundary curves across the undeveloped slopes of North Table Mountain to the business park at 44th and McIntyre.

Other articles:
• McIntyre Street:   at Table Mtn Pkwy;  

The eastern boundary is along McIntyre Street, jogging west to avoid the Rolling Hills Country Club and former Camp George West. There is an easward extension to include the little piece of Golden at 6th and Indiana.

Other articles:
• Interstate 70:  Golden;

Locations: Apex Park. Tin Cup Ridge.  

The south boundary is the lower northwest slopes of Green Mountain, i.e., Green Mountain is excluded, I then follow Interstate 70, and a ridge line separating the incorporated area of Golden from Mount Vernon Canyon. Both Tin Cup Ridge and Apex Open Space Park are therefore included within Golden s.l.

Locations: Lookout Mountain. Mount Zion.  

The western boundary begins where the ridge line intersects the western edge of the Morrison quadrangle, and the boundary of Golden s.l. is the easternmost of either the quadrangle boundary or the ridge line of Lookout Mountain and Mount Zion. From Mount Zion back to Pine Ridge Road, I basically draw a straight line along the various western extents of the irregular Golden city limits.
  The definition of Golden s. l. includes much of the southwest corner of the Golden quadrangle and the northwest corner of the Morrison quadrangle. The Evergreen and Ralston Buttes quadrangles do not include any portion of Golden s. l. as I have defined it.



North Table Mountain


Literature Cited:
- Drewes, Harald, 2008.

Other articles:
• County Road 284:   near Poppy;

Locations: North Table Mountain. Ralston Dike.  

Full Size Image
North Table Mountain to the southwest.
North and South Table Mountain separate Golden from the metropolitan Denver area to the east. They would be a single mountain except for the canyon that Clear Creek has cut between them. Both mesas are formed of Denver Formation capped by two or three basalt flows. The basalt erupted from what we now call the Ralston dike. This dike can be seen in a quarry west of Colorado Highway 93, about 3 miles north of North Table Mountain. The Denver Formation is composed of sedimentary rocks with clasts of volcanic rocks. The Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary is thought to be in the lower part of the Denver Formation.
  Nearly all North Table Mountain is in public ownership. The largest part, about 1,873 acres, is owned by Jefferson County, and managed by Jefferson County Open Space as North Table Mountain Park. This park is very popular and heavily used all year around. A smaller portion, about 135 acres on the southwest slopes, is owned by the City of Golden. The radio tower is on a 1-acre privately-owned parcel.
  There are six developed trailheads permitting access to North Table Mountain, and several undeveloped, or social, trailheads.

Other articles:
• Golden Cliffs Trail:   at trailhead;
• North Table Loop:   at N Table Mtn Trlhd;
• CO Hwy 93:   at N Table Mtn TH;
• Field Notes:   8 Oct 2014;

Locations: North Table Mountain.
Full Size ImageNorth Table Mountain Trailhead  

Full Size Image
Golden Cliffs Trailhead
Two of the trailheads are equipped with restrooms. The most popular trailhead is on the west side, just off Colorado Highway 93. It has restrooms, water, and a large parking lot. The other developed trailhead is primarily used by climbers. Accessed from Peery Parkway in Golden, it also has restrooms.

Other articles:
• County Road 284:   at Mesa Spur TH;
• Easley Road:   near sports complex;
• Field Notes:   8 Nov 2015;  Friday, 22 July 2016;

Locations: North Table Mountain Park.
Full Size ImageTrail access on Ridge Road.  

Full Size Image
Trailhead of Mesa Spur Trail.
Three other trailheads developed by Jefferson County Open Space are on W. 58th Avenue, Easley Road, and Ridge Road.

Other articles:
• 53rd Drive:   at bicycle trail;
• Field Notes:   13 Aug 2014;

Locations: North Table Mountain Park.
Full Size ImageNorth Table Mountain trail at W. 53rd Drive  

There is an access point on W. 53rd Drive, but no parking nearby.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   20 Jul 2015;  

There may be a trailhead from the Table Rock subdivision. In fact, maps of North Table Mountain Park, show this as an Access Point. The problem is: getting back into the subdivision from the park requires passing a "No Trespassing" sign.

Other articles:
• Peery Drive:   at trail;
• North Table Mountain Trail:   at Peery;
• Field Notes:   18 Feb 2016;
Full Size ImagePeery Drive trailhead of North Table Mountain Trail.  

The City of Golden has a trailhead into their lands on North Table Mountain on Peery Drive. This trailhead gives access to the City of Golden North Table Mountain trail.

Other articles:
• Easley Road:   at social trail;
• Social Trail:   at N Table Loop;
Full Size ImageSocial trail from Tablerock subdivision into North Table Mountain Park.  

There are two commonly used social trails leading to North Table Mountain One is off Dunraven Circle in Table Rock. The other is at Easley Road and Colorado Highway 58.

The Dunraven Circle social trail is quite handy. Short, only 160 meters in length, it gives easy access to the North Table Loop, and then there is only another 245 meters to the Mesa Top Trail. It is, of course, signed “No Trespassing.” In theory, there is an access point to the Tablerock Trail from Tablerock Subdivision about 430 m. to the northeast. This access point can accessed from either Dunraven Circle or Devil's Head Circle by way of a concrete multiuse trail. Unfortunately, that trail is also signed “No Trespassing.”

Other articles:
• Social Trail:   at Easley;
Full Size ImageStart of social trail at Easley Road.  

The Easley Road social trail begins near the Easley Road on-ramp to Colorado Highway 58 West. It is a little obscure to find. The trail climbs steeply to the fourth terrace in the road cut above Highway 58. The trail follows the terrace to its end, and then begins to climb a small canyon of North Table Mountain, following the route of an old road. This road is shown on the 1939 edition of the USGS Golden, Colo. 7.5" quadrangle map. The distance to the North Table Loop is about a half mile.

Literature Cited:
- White, Sally, and Loraine Yeatts, 1994.  

There have been several Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS) field trips on North Table Mountain. Two that are listed on the society's web site are: May 14, 1994, led by Sally White and Loraine Yeatts, and May 23, 1998, led by Paul Kilburn and Jerry Duncan. There is a plant list available from the White and Yeatts field trip.

The author led Colorado Native Plant Society field trips to North Table Mountain in 2016, 2017, and 2019. The plant lists from those field trips are kept constantly up to date by this web site. See Plant Check List for North Table Mountain, Jefferson County, United States.



South Table Mountain


Locations: South Table Mountain.  

Seen from a distance, it is clear the upper surface South Table Mountain is a continuation of the upper surface of North Table Mountain.
  Ownership of South Table Mountain is more mixed than North Table Mountain. The three largest owners are Jefferson County (738 Ac.), State of Colorado (500 ac.), and Bear Creek Development (312 ac.). The City of Golden owns a small 31-acre parcel where the Lubahn Trail is found.

Other articles:
• Ridge Road:   near N Easley Wy;
Full Size ImageMap of South Table Mountain  

There are three developed trailheads with parking, two access points without parking, and three more informal, or social, access points.

Other articles:
• Lubahn Trail:   at trailhead;
• Golden Hills Road:   at trl hd;
• Kilmer Street:  10000;

Locations: South Table Mountain.
Full Size ImageGolden Hills Trailhead  

Full Size Image
Castle Rock from Lubahn Trail trailhead
Trailheads with parking, often just street parking are at:
  • Lubahn Trail, Belvedere at 18th, Belvedere at 19th.
  • Fossil Trail, on Golden Hills Road.
  • Camp George West Park.
  Neighborhood access without parking is at:
  • West Denver West Parkway.
  • Old Quarry Road.

Other articles:
• Lookout View Court:  32460;
• Rimrock Drive:   on Rimrock Dr;  

  • Lookout View Drive.
  • Rimrock Drive.
  • Quaker Street.



Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Wednesday, October 15th;  

Lookout Mountain


Other articles:
• Lubahn Trail:   above rim;
• Field Notes:  4 May 2020;

Locations: Apex Park. Lookout Mountain. Matthews/Winters Park. Windy Saddle Park.
Full Size ImageLookout Mountain  

Lookout Mountain is the very eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain Front Range. The Front Range runs north-south between Casper, Wyoming and Pueblo, Colorado and rises nearly 10,000 feet above the Great Plains. Longs Peak, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak are its most prominent peaks, visible from the Interstate 25 corridor. The highest mountain peak in the Front Range is Grays Peak. Other notable mountains include Torreys Peak and Mount Bierstadt.

Only the eastern-facing slopes of Lookout Mountain are covered by this checklist flora.

Land ownership (1,221 ac.) is primarily Jefferson County Open Space for Windy Saddle Park, Apex Open Space Park, Lookout Mountain Nature Center, and small portion of Matthews/Winters Park. Denver Parks owns a large parcel (69 ac.) on top of Lookout Mountain. Martin Marietta is the largest private landowner for their quarry, followed by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Mother Cabrini Shrine).



Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Wednesday, July 6th;

Locations: Colorado School of Mines Survey Field.
Full Size ImageSouth end of Survey Field, south Golden, and South Table Mountain.  

Colorado School of Mines Survey Field

The next largest single parcel is the Colorado School of Mines Survey Field. It consists of 2 parcels totaling about 226 acres. At the upper, west side, it abuts Lookout Mountain.

Though owned by a public agency, the Survey Field is not really open to the public, in the sense of a public park or open space. The school needs to know who in on their property, and to cover themselves for liability issues.

The Survey Field has been disturbed by roads, mining, and utilities. It is also quite weedy in places. Regardless, it is a unique piece of open space in Golden, given its size, and its place between Golden and Lookout Mountain.



Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at rock knob;
• Field Notes:   16 May 2018;
Full Size ImageView generally north of Kinney Run.  

Kinney Run / Deadman Gulch

The City of Golden-owned parcels in the vicinity of Eagle Ridge (a small hogback), Deadman Gulch, Kinney Run, and Heritage Dells comprise about 90 acres. There are also some city-owned watercourses near the south-west end of those shown on this map.

Literature Cited:
- U.S. Board on Geographic Names, n.d..

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at Deadman Gl;

Locations: Deadman Gulch. Eagle Ridge. Heritage Dells. Kinney Run.  

Of the four names applied to this area, only two: Deadman Gulch and Heritage Dells, are recognized by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN, n.d.). The source for “Kinney Run” is unknown, but is probably a euphemism used by developers for Deadman Gulch. The original source may be “Kenneys Creek” found on the 1938 Morrison quadrangle applied to a creek flowing north along present-day Johnson Avenue, then northwest along South Golden Road. Similarly, the source for “Eagle Ridge” is also unknown, but was probably chosen by real estate developers in the area.
Full Size Image
City of Golden-owned Parcels in the vicinity of Kinney Run

Locations: Deadman Gulch. Eagle Ridge.  

The largest parcels are in the north between Tripp Ranch and US Highway 6. The northernmost parcel sits between the Survey Field and US Highway 6, spanning Deadman Gulch, and including a small hogback that may be the source of the name “Eagle Ridge.” Collecting in this area has been an extension of collecting in the Survey Field. There are no collections from the ridge itself, although the southern end of the ridge is getting close to the Handsford T. Shacklette collections. These were made near the intersection of US Highway 6 and Heritage Road (June 27, 1959. 25 vouchers, COLO, and 1 voucher, MICH).

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at sm. hill;   at coll locn;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1780, 12 Apr 2018;   Coll. No. 1783, 12 Apr 2018;

Locations: Cambria Lime Kiln. Kinney Run.
Full Size ImageCambria Lime Kiln  

South and west of Eagle Ridge is the heart of Deadman Gulch/Kinney Run. A little over 31 acres, this parcel is oriented north-south, and fairly narrow from east to west.

Full Size Image
Kinney Run in early Spring.
Full Size Image
View of Kinney Run in early Spring.
The northernmost portion has been revegetated. The Cambria Lime Kiln is found in this parcel. There is road frontage in two places on Eagle Ridge Drive, and one place on Crawford Street. The Kinney Run Trail, a concrete multi-use trail bisects the parcel from north to south.
  The vegetation of Kinney Run is a mosaic of Foothills Shrubland and Riparian, with some remnant Mixed-Grass Prairie. Despite the extensive disturbance and planting of non-natives, many native grasses and forbs (non-woody perennials) can still be found in Kinney Run. Roundtip Twinpod (Physaria vitulifera) and Front Range Beardtongue (Penstemon virens) bloom in the spring on the rock outcrops of the Lyons Sandstone along with Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus). Green Needlegrass (Nassella viridula) and Needle and Thread (Hesperostipa comata) are found around the edges of the Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) thickets below the cliffs. The wetter areas near the creek support both Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) and Wax Currant (R. cereum), along with Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and the Cloaked Bulrush (Scirpus pallidus). The drier slopes opposite Eagle Ridge support many examples of remnant Prairie vegetation, such as Prairie Groundsel (Packera plattensis), Cowboy Delight (Sphaeralcea coccinea), and Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata).

Literature Cited:
- Steadman, Christy, 2019.

Locations: Kinney Run.

Letters: Thursday, August 9, 2018.  

Golden GiddyUp (2017-2018) proposed to build a system of dirt bicycle trails in the Kinney Run/Heritage Dells area, including one through this parcel. The trail was proposed to be some distance away from the existing Kinney Run trail. It would therefore further fragment this small area into three pieces from its current two pieces. This proposal was strongly opposed by the Friends of Kinney Run, and by the author. This proposal has been withdrawn, for now, in favor of a bicycle trail linking Beverly Heights to Kinney Run, by way of the Survey Field.
  Between Tripp Ranch and Heritage Dells Park lies a small parcel of 7.8 acres. This parcel goes from the riparian zone of Kinney Run east to the back fences of the houses that face Somerset Street.

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   near intersection;
• Field Notes:  Sunday, August 8th;
Full Size ImageThe southern part of proposed mountain bike trail, Segment 4.  

At the south end of this parcel, there was formerly a social trail from the end of W. 4th Avenue down to the Kinney Run Trail. Presumably this trail was used by children enroute to Shelton School. The trail is faintly visible on GoogleEarth imagery from 1999, before the concrete trail was constructed to the south. The social trail has since been revegetated (2015 to 2017).
  Heritage Dells Park is accessible from Crawford Street. In 1987, this foothills park was built to serve the Heritage Dells Subdivision. Currently, it is located at the midpoint of the Kinney Run Trail, and makes for a great resting place along this regional trail that begins at Heritage Square. The terrain is hilly and it’s a “good push” to get a loaded baby stroller back to the car from the A.D.A. accessible playground. A basketball court is also available at the park, perfect for neighborhood pick-up games and practice. Includes a cherry stem southward to Kimball Avenue.

Locations: Heritage Dells.  

The location of GNIS Heritage Dells. Roughly at the corner of Kimball Avenue and Crawford Circle.
  The Kinney Run trail continues south through a narrow corridor to Apex Park (Jefferson County Open Space) and its many trails. It passes by the Magic Mountain archeological site.

Literature Cited:
- Brunquist, E. H., 1966.

Locations: Magic Mountain.  

Magic Mountain archeological site: Named for a nearby amusement park now known as Heritage Square, the Magic Mountain Archaeological Site south of Golden was excavated in 1959–60 by Cynthia and Henry Irwin. Because it was one of the first foothills sites to be professionally excavated, the Irwins’ report on Magic Mountain has provided the foundation for all later archaeological research in the region. In the 1990s new excavations discovered thousands of artifacts and bone fragments as well as several architectural features, which have helped provide more precise dates and cultural affiliations for the site. Vegetation in the vicinity of the Magic Mountain archeological site was surveyed by Ernest H. Brunquist (1966).



Other articles:
• Cty Rd 93:   at US 40;
• Rooney Road Sports Complex Road:   at end;
• Field Notes:  30 April 2020;
• US Hwy 40:   at Zeta;
• Interstate 70:   at cut;

Locations: Tin Cup Ridge.  

Tin Cup Ridge

Tin Cup Ridge is the northward extension of Dinosaur Ridge into Golden. Interstate 70 cuts through Dinosaur Ridge and separates the two parts of the ridge.

The easiest way to access Tin Cup Ridge is from the Rooney Road Sports Complex.

At the south end, Tin Cup Ridge can also be accessed from the T-Rex Park and Ride Lot. And, for the truly intrepid, it is possible to access Tin Cup Ridge from the north, through the Wrigley's Chicago Bar & Grill parking lot from the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Zeta Street.



Locations: Matthews/Winters Park.  

Matthews/Winters Park

There is a small portion of Matthews/Winters Park that is north of Interstate 70, and just south of the Golden city limits. This area is not open to the public.



Other articles:
• Poco Calle:   at trailhead;
• Cty Rd 93:   at Apex Park;
• Field Notes:  25 April 2020;  6 May 2020;

Locations: Apex Park. Apex Park - Northern Parcel. Deadman Gulch.
Full Size ImageDeadman Gulch in Apex Park.  

Apex Park

Apex Park is about 700 acres. Of those, about 500 acres are within the City of Golden. The larger southern portion of the park is heavily used and a popular destination for hiking and mountain biking. There is a smaller northern portion of the park that is closed for resource protection.

There is one trailhead and two other access points to Apex Park. The trailhead is on Heritage Road near Colfax Avenue. The access points are on Lookout Mountain Road and Poco Calle Road. They have minimal parking and no facilities.

Some clever map-reading will disclose other ways to enter Apex Park. However, doing so is difficult without crossing private property or inadvertently entering the restricted area.



Other articles:
• Salvia Street:  Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex;

Locations: Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex.  

Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex

The Tony Grampsas Memorial Sports Complex comprises 58 acres, almost entirely developed.



Other articles:
• Chimney Gulch Trail:   at pkg;
• U. S. Highway 6:   at pkg;

Locations: Landing Zone.  

CSM Paraglider Landing Area

The hang glider landing field is 45 acres, property owned by Colorado School of Mines, a lot of it disturbed by use. To the south of the landing field is a small City of Golden parcel of about 14 acres.



Literature Cited:
- U.S. Board on Geographic Names, n.d..
- Van Horn, Richard, 1957.

Locations: Cressmans Gulch (lower).  

Dakota Ridge and Cressman Gulch

The south end of Dakota Ridge and the adjacent Cressman Gulch is in the very northern part of Golden. I have applied the name Dakota Ridge to this hogback because that is the only name I have seen applied to it. The name was applied by Van Horn (1957) in Bedrock Geology of the Golden Quadrangle. “Dakota Ridge” is also sometimes applied to the corresponding hogback south of Golden. However the GNIS (BGN, 2019) applies the name “Dinosaur Ridge.”

Regardless of the naming question, Cressman Gulch and the Dakota Ridge hogback above it measure to be 39 acres. The eastern portion, about 13 acres by my estimate and therefore quite unofficial, is likely to be used for the relocation of Colorado Highway 93 sometime in the future. The remaining 26 acres is primarily contributed by the south end of the hogback. There are open mines on the hogback, which are fenced, and not open to access by the public.

Literature Cited:
- Fernandez-Mazuecos, Mario, Jose Luis Blanco-Pastor, and Pablo Vargas, 2013.
- Sutton, D. A., 1988.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Linaria canadensis texana;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2077, 14 Jun 2019;  9 May 2020;

Locations: Dakota Ridge. Rocky Flats. White Ranch Park.  

There is no botanic data for Dakota Ridge, and only one plant collection. It is Linaria canadensis (L.) Dum.-Cours. Var. texana (Scheele) Pennell, with a common name of “Blue Toadflax.” A commonly used synonym for this plant is Nuttallanthus texanus (Scheele) D. A. Sutton. This name was proposed by Sutton (1988) to separate the new world Linaria from the old world Linaria. However, recent phylogenetic work (Fernandez-Mazuecos, et al., 2013) shows that the new world plants need to be retained in the old world genus Linaria. There is historic collection made along the railroad tracks in Golden from more than a century ago. More recently, it was collected at Rocky Flats and White Ranch.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2077, Linaria canadensis var. texana



Locations: Tucker Gulch (lower).  

Tucker Gulch

Tucker Gulch and the lower part of Cressman Gulch, i.e., south and east of Colorado Highway 93, form a kind of linear open space, if the term “open space” can be applied to a long narrow shape. While much of the lower part of Tucker Gulch is still railroad right of way, the portion owned by the City of Golden is 34 acres. Tucker Gulch between the highway and Clear Creek is about 3.2 km. in length, and Cressman Gulch from the highway to the mouth at Tucker Gulch is about 1.5 km. in length. When combined with the railroad land, the width varies from a minimum of 17 m. to a maximum of 109 m., although generally the width is about 30 to 50 m.

Other articles:
• Tucker Gulch Trail:   above First;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1334, 11 May 2016;  

The vegetation in Tucker Gulch is quite weedy. There are only a few collections made in Tucker Gulch and of them only one is native: Heterotheca villosa “Hairy False Goldenaster.” Among the non-native plants, one, Alopecurus arundinaceus “Creeping Meadow Foxtail” is an uncommon grass in Jefferson County, and therefore at least mildly interesting.



Other articles:
• Social Trail (N. Wash. OS):   at top;
• Nightbird Gulch Trail:   at point;
• North Table Mountain Trail:   at social trail;
• Field Notes:   25 Mar 2017;

Locations: North Washington Open Space.
Full Size ImageView west to North Table Mountain.  

North Washington Open Space

The little piece of City of Golden open space at the north end of Washington Avenue, near Cannonball Creek Brewery, measures 4 acres. Tract A of the parcel was accepted by the City of Golden by Resolution No. 516, adopted December 23, 1993. It is unclear how Tract B became city-owned. However, it is possibly by Resolution 599.
Full Size Image
North Washington Open Space as seen from North Table Mountain
Full Size Image
View of North Washington Open Space from Mount Galbraith

Other articles:
• Social Trail (N. Wash. OS):  west of top;
Full Size ImageField Trip group, May 13, 2018.  

Three field trips sponsored by Colorado Native Plant Society visited the open space parcel on May 13, 2018, June 15, 2018, and July 21, 2018. Approximately 25 people participated in the field trips.

Other articles:
• Social Trail (N. Wash. OS):   near top;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1614, 15 May 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1614, Castilleja integra, along the top of the North Washington Open Space.  

There are 122 taxa (species of plants) in 42 plant families, mostly grasses and forbs (non-woody perennials). None of the plants collected or observed are Colorado-ranked rare plants (Colorado Natural Heritage Program, 1997+). There are 14 species of Colorado-listed Noxious Weeds (Colorado Department of Agriculture, 2014-2019). There is one species on List A, Euphorbia myrsinites L. “Myrtle Spurge,” and seven List B species.
  A small portion covering the top of the hill, about 1.5 acres in size, could be identified as Western Great Plains Foothill and Piedmont Grassland with mixed tall and short grass species. Significantly sized other portions, would be identified as Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis Leyss) Ruderal Vegetation.
  There is substantial disturbance around the edges of the parcel. Disturbance includes grading, water lines or other utilities, construction, landscaping or revegetation, yard debris disposal and mowing by neighbors, and social trails and amenities. It is unclear when the water line was placed across the parcel, but the current vault appears in 7/4/2005 imagery. The center of the open space is less-disturbed, where the primary disturbances are social trails and amenities.
  There are four easily identifiable social trails crossing all or part of the parcels. The primary social trail crosses the parcels east to west across the top of the hill. This trail bisects the area of remnant native vegetation on the top of the hill and is frequently used by hikers, dog walkers, and by a few mountain bikes. The opportunities for rerouting this trail away from the native vegetation, while still permitting access to the top of the hill, seem quite limited. The trail is eroding on the stepest slope at the eastern slope of the hill. There is one social amenity, i.e., a bench near the top of the hill. The bench and associated access trail first appear in 10/7/2012 imagery. The access trail to this bench passes perilously close to several individual plants of Missouri Foxtail Cactus.

Full Size ImageTrampled area beside social trail.  
The top of the hill is occasionally used for picnics or similar activities as evidenced from a rather large trampled area. I have even encountered a wedding photography party on top to the hill. Unfortunately, the trampled area is at the center of the best native vegetation. This causes damage to the small area of native prairie and indicates why the trail needs to be signed with a plea for users to remain on the trail.
  I keep a separate report about this open space, which can be on my home page with a title of “Botanical Resources of the North Washington Open Space, Golden, Colorado.”



Nearby Areas Excluded

  Any developed areas on the north slope of North Table Mountain are excluded, e.g., the Table Rock subdivision.
  The boundary was drawn to swing west of the Rolling Hills Country Club.
  The former Camp George West is excluded in its entirety.

Literature Cited:
- Yeatts, Dick, and Loraine Yeatts, 2009.

Locations: Green Mountain.  

Nearly all of Green Mountain is excluded, except for the lowest northwest slopes.

There are a few lists available for Green Mountain. The most recent is Yeatts & Yeatts (2009).




My broad definition of Golden is included on two USGS 7.5" topographic maps: Golden and Morrison.

Literature Cited:
- Van Horn, Richard, 1957.
- Van Horn, Richard, 1972.
- Van Horn, Richard, 1976.

Locations: Golden.  

Geology of the Golden quadrangle is by Van Horn (1972, 1976).

Literature Cited:
- Scott, G. R., 1972.

Locations: Golden.  

Geology of the Morrison quadrangle is by Scott (1972).

Literature Cited:
- Chapin, Charles E., Shari A. Kelley, and Steven M. Cather, 2014.
- Hedgem Carl E., Robert S. Houston, Ogden L. Tweto, Zell E. Peterman, Jack E. Harrison, and Rolland R. Reid, 1986.

Locations: Dakota Ridge. Tin Cup Ridge.  

Golden sits roughly in the center of the Rocky Mountain Front. This long, straight, persistent structural boundary originated between 1.4 and 1.1 billion years ago in the Mesoproterozoic Era. It was intruded by the Pikes Peak granite (1.09 billion years) in central Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Front began as a boundary between thick cratonic lithosphere to the east (modern coordinates) and an orogenic plateau to the west and remains so today. The structural boundary was reactivated during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia (1.1 to 0.6 billion years ago) and again during deformation associated with formation of both the Ancestral (≈300 Ma) and Laramide (80-40 Ma) Rocky Mountains. The landscape we now see was enhanced during the late Miocene to Holocene (ca. 6–0 Ma) by tectonic uplift. Increased monsoonal precipitation caused differential erosion along the mountain front, exhuming an imposing 0.5– 1.2 km escarpment that is bordered by hogbacks of Mesozoic strata and incised by major river canyons. The hogbacks do not occur in central Golden as they are cut off by the Golden fault. However, there are hogbacks in both north and south Golden s.l., i.e, Dakota Ridge in the north, and Tin Cup Ridge in the south.

Literature Cited:
- Weimer, Bob, 2001.

Locations: Golden.
Full Size ImageSimplified geologic cross section through Golden and vicinity  

Simplified geologic cross section of Golden and vicinity.
ls landslide
Pf Fountain Formation Pink to reddish-orange arkosic sandstone and comglomerate, and dark-reddish-brown mudstone.
Lava flows. Latite, dark gray, weathers light brown to light gray. Contains plagioclase, potassium feldspar, augite, olivene, and some biotite, magnetitem and apatite.
Tdv, Kdv Denver Formation. Light-gray to brown, lenticular, loosely cemented, tuffaceous sandstone, silty claystone, and andesitic conglomerate. System boundary based on paleontologic evidence.
Ka Arapahoe Formation. Light-gray to brown, quartzose sandstone and silty claystone; thick conglomerate locally at base.
Kl Laramie Formation. Light- to medium-gray quartzose sandstone and claystone, and several lenticular sub-bituminous coal beds in the lower 200 feet.
Kp Pierre Shale. Predominantly medium-gray clayey shale and some calcareous concretions, interbedded with some siltstone and silty sandstone.
peg Granitic pegmatite Dikelike, lenticular, and irregularly shaped bodies composed principally of quartz and microcline.
pC Precambrian gneiss and schist. Gray medium-grained gneiss consisting of quartz, plagioclase, and biotite.





Literature Cited:
- Price, Alan B., and Alan E. Amen, 2008 rev..  

Soils in the Golden area were enumerated in Price and Amen (2001, 2008 rev.). Seventy-nine different soil types are recognized in Golden sensu latu



Literature Cited:
- United States National Vegetation Classification, 2019.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  19 Oct 2019;

Locations: Golden.  

Vegetation of Golden

There are three basic types of vegetation in Golden s.l.:

  • Mixed-grass prairie.
  • Foothill shrubland.
  • Riparian or wetland vegetation.

I haven’t used formal names, such as those found in the National Vegetation Classification System (USNVC, 2019), because none of the areas in Golden s.l. have received the formal attention and documentation required for a more formal definition.

Full Size Image
View similar to the historic view of Golden.
Full Size Image
View of north Golden 1870-1880. Countesy of Denver Public Library.
Historical photographs show the original vegetation of Golden to be prairie. Prairie is a French word meaning meadow. In North America, prairie has come to mean an ecosystem with moderate rainfall, and a composition of grasses, forbs (perennial herbs), and small shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type. In the parts of Golden that could be built upon or where used for agriculture, almost nothing of Golden’s original prairie vegetation remains. However, a small remnant is at North Washington Open Space. It is a mixed grass pairie because it has short grasses and tall grasses. The short grasses are Buchloe dactyloides (Buffalo grass) and Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama). The tall grasses are represented by Andropogon gerardii (Big Bluestem), although on the gravelly ridge of North Washington Open Space, the Big Bluestem is quite short. Hesperostipa comata (Needle and Thread) and Nassella viridula (Green Needlegrass) are also present. Many forbs typical of plains grasslands are also present, such as:
  • Heterotheca villosa (Hairy False Goldenaster),
  • Oxytropis lambertii (Purple Locoweed),
  • Penstemon secundiflorus (Sidebells Beardtongue), and
  • Viola nuttallii (Nuttall’s Violet).

Shrubs are represented on the prairie by Ribes cereum (Wax Currant) and Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry).

In the watercourses, such as Tucker Gulch and Arapahoe Gulch, is a riparian vegetation consisting of willows and cottonwoods (Salix spp.), with sedges (Carex sp.) and rushes (Juncus sp.), and sometimes cat tails (Typha sp.).

Away from the valley bottoms, on the slopes of North and South Table Mountains and Mount Galbraith is a foothill shrubland. These can be very dry and exposed favoring Cercocarpus montanus (Alder-Leaf Mountain Mahogany). A little more mesic habitat favors shrubs such as Rhus trilobata (Squawbush) and Prunus americana (American Plum). The small watercourses may support Acer glabrum (Rocky Mountain Maple) and Physocarpus monogynus (Mountain Ninebark).

Of course, the boundaries between these vegetation types are rarely sharp, and representatives of one vegetation type will often be found growing with representatives of another type.




History of Botanic Exploration



The Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains 1819-1820


Literature Cited:
- Goodman, George J., and Cheryl A. Lawson, 1995.  

Major Stephen H. Long, an army engineer, promoted scientific exploration in the west to President James Monroe and Secretary of War John Calhoun. In 1818, he received authorization to form a scientific group and undertake an expedition. His scientific staff included Edwin James, M.D., a twenty-three year old Vermonter, as botanist. The expedition set out on June 6, 1820, from Engineer Cantonment on the Missouri River, about 5 miles below Council Bluffs.

Literature Cited:
- James, Edwin, ed., 1823.

Other articles:
• Account of the Expedition, Volume 2:   5 Jul 2017;

Locations: Inspiration Point.  

The expedition arrived in the Denver area on July 5th, camping on the South Platte River opposite Cannon Ball Creek (now Clear Creek). In the afternoon, James and three others set out for the base of the Rocky Mountains, thinking they were just a few miles away. Eight miles later, they reached the location of present day Inspiration Point and, discouraged that the mountains looked no closer, they turned back to camp. Along the way the party noted a few plants, but did not collect.

Other articles:
• Sheridan Blvd:   at Inspiration Pt Pk;  

At some location on the 5th, james did make two collections. One collection was identified by Torrey as Sium latifolium L. Roem. and Schult. vi. p. 331. Tor. fl. i. p. 311. Base of the Rocky Mountains. is listed in Goodman and Lawson (1995) as Sium suave Walter Water Parsnip. Ackerfield (2015) says this taxon does not occur in Jefferson County, and SEINet supports this contention, save for one 1977 collection at a Main Reservoir near Mississipi and Kipling in Lakewood.

Torrey lists Stipa barbata Michx. fl. i. p. 53. as being found on the sources of the Platte and Canadian. He then goes on to observe "… grows with Cenchrus echinatus, and like that plant is very troublesome ; the bearded awns adhering to and penetrating the dress." Goodman and Lawson (1995, p. 210) state that both Stipa barbata and S. juncea, as used by James, are synonyms for Hesperostipa comata (Trin. & Rupr.) Barkworth.

Locations: Platte Canyon. Roxborough Park. Sheep Mountain.  

On July 6th, they moved to the mouth of Platte Canyon, and explored in the Roxborough Park area. The next day James and several others struggled up the north bank of the South Platte, reaching the southeast slopes of Sheep Mountain.

The southeast slopes of Sheep Mountain are most likely locations for many of James' new species. In particular: Eriogonum umbellatum Torr. “Sulphur Flower,” Physocarpus monogynus (Torrey) Coulter “Mountain Ninebark,” and Acer glabrum Torrey “Rocky Mountain Maple” were most likely collected on Sheep Mountain. James' collection of Cercocarpus montanus Raf. “Alder Leaf Mountain Mahogany” was probably made at the mouth of Platte Canyon. There are several other collections that may have been made in this area, but the time or location may be unclear, or in the case of Rubus deliciousus the material actually collected is unclear.

Literature Cited:
- James, Edwin, ed., 1823.

Other articles:
• Account of the Expedition, Volume 2:  preface;  

In 1823, the “Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains performed in the years 1819, 1820, by order of the Hon. J. C. Calhoun, under the command of Major Stephen H. Long,” in two volumes, and edited by Edwin James was published. The botany of the expedition is not covered in detail in these volumes. There are only a few references or notes to plants collected or seen along the way.

Literature Cited:
- Torrey, John, 1824a.  

John Torrey (1824a) “Description of some new or rare plants from the Rocky Mountains, collected in July, 1820, by Dr. E. James” describes some new plants from Pikes Peak slopes and summit. None of the plants were collected in Jefferson County, Colorado.

Literature Cited:
- Torrey, John, 1824b.  

John Torrey (1824b) “Description of some new grasses, collected by Dr. E. James, during the expedition of Major Long to the Rocky Mountains, in 1819-1820” contains no new grasses from Jefferson County, Colorado.

Literature Cited:
- James, Edwin, 1825.  

In 1825, James published a “Catalogue of Plants Collected During a Journey to and from the Rocky Mountains, During the Summer of 1820.” However, this account does not include any previously undescribed plants.

Literature Cited:
- Torrey, John G., 1827.  

Finally, in 1827, Torrey's “Some account of a Collection of Plants made during a journey to and from the Rocky Mountains in the summer of 1820, by Edwin P. James, M. D. Assistant Surgeon U. S. Army.” some of the new taxa from Jefferson County. These collections were made on the southeast slopes of Sheep Mountain, above Waterton Canyon. Some of the new taxa were Acer glabrum Torr. “Rocky Mountain Maple,” Spiraea monogyna Torr. (=Physocarpus monogynus (Torr.) J. M. Coult.) “Mountain Nine-bark,” and Eriogonum umbellatum Torr. “Sulphur-flower Buckwheat” Torrey's caution got the best of him with his acceptance of Cercocarpus fothergilloides Kunth for what later became C. montanus Raf. While none of these plants were collected in Golden by the Long Expedition, there are all quite common here.

Literature Cited:
- Rafinesque, C. S., 1832.

Other articles:
• Atlantic Journal:  107120;  

Rafinesque was pretty unhappy with Torrey being " very cautious that he will not admit any improvement except after long delays and previous precedents …" which left him feeling "… compelled to rectify this omission by forming many new genera and species out of [Torrey's] plants, for my florula Oregonensis." Justifying his action by stating " …hesitation in science is often as injurous as haste. It is even better to have two names for an object than no name at all," Rafinesque published Cercocarpus montanus Raf. in “Twenty new genera of plants from the Oregon Mountains, &c.”

Literature Cited:
- Beaman, John H., 1957.
- Graustein, Jeannette E., 1967.

Locations: Mount Vernon Canyon.  

Two Townsendias are commonly collected in the Golden area: T. grandiflora and T. hookeri. Both were first collected in 1834 by Thomas Nuttall during his journey with the Wyeth expedition from St. Louis, Missouri, to Fort Vancouver, Oregon. Nuttall kept no journal during this trip, so his localities are always a bit of a mystery. Some location data can be derived from his published account and the label data on his specimens. “Plains of the Platte” is probably the most accurate location description for T. grandiflora, whereas "an alpine chain toward the sources of the Platte" is the most descriptive location for T. hookeri. Nuttall's determination of his collection was T. sericea Hook. T. sericea is an illegitimate name and a synonym of T. exscapa (Richardson) Porter.

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 1247, Townsendia grandiflora
Beaman (1957) proposed T. hookeri Beaman as a segregate from T. exscapa, using a collection by Clokey in Mt. Vernon Canyon as his type. Besides its generally smaller size, a distinguishing character of T. hookeri Beaman is its little tuft of twisted cilia at the apex of the phyllaries (Beaman, 1957, Graustein, 1967).


Literature Cited:
- Jercinovic, Eugene, n.d..
- Pursh, Frederick, 1814.

Other articles:
• Spur Social Trail:   top of mesa;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1385, 1 Jun 2016;  

The First Collection Made in Golden

The oldest collection from Golden with reliable data is E. L. Greene's collection of Oxytropis lambertii Pursh on May 1, 1870. Greene moved to Colorado in 1870. The location is given simply as “Golden.” This collection is at the Brown University Herbarium, on a voucher with a Hall & Harbour collection made in 1862. While O. lambertii was described by Pursh (1814), it is not a Lewis and Clark collection. Pursh described it from a collection by John Bradbury (1768-1823) on the Missouri River.
Full Size Image
Purple Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii) on top of North Table Mountain.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 1385, Oxytropis lambertii

Literature Cited:
- Britton, Nathaniel Lord, 1900.
Full Size ImageE. L. Greene collection of Crataegus succulenta  

There is another plant collection giving Golden as the location that carries an earlier date. It is a anonymous collection of Crataegus occidentalis Britton that gives "By streams near Golden" as the location. The collection date is reported as 1822 by NY, the holder of this voucher.

There is a problem with the collection date, though. Golden was not founded until 1859, when it was named for Thomas L. Golden, who arrived in then-Kansas Territory in 1858. The only collectors in the area near the 1822 date were the Major Stephen Long expedition of 1820. A collection from that expedition would have ended up in the Torrey Herbarium as this specimen did. There is a pencilled notation above "Rev. E. L. Greene" and perhaps that note would shed some light. It is also possible that the label was written and affixed many years after the collection was made. Examining the date hand-written on the label, it appears that it could 1872 rather than 1822. If the date were 1872 then the collector could have been C. C. Parry, E. L. Greene, or possibly someone else.

Britton's (1900) description of C. occidentalis states that the types were “… collected by Prof. E. L. Greene, near Golden, Colo., 1873, along streams, in flower; on river-bank near the Forks of Dismal River, Hooke Co., Nebr., collected by Dr. P. A. Rydberg, July 11, 1893, in fruit.” This seems pretty conclusive, that the collection in question, was likely collected in 1872(3) and that the collector was probably E. L. Greene.

Ackerfield (2015) treats Crataegus occidentalis Britton as a synonym of C. succulenta Schrad., whereas FNANM treats it as a synonym of C. macracantha Loddiges ex Loudon.


The Last 50 Years


Literature Cited:
- Brunquist, E. H., 1966.  

Ernest H. Brunquist (1888-1978) was curator of botany at the Denver Museim of Nature and Science from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

Brunquist (1966) prepared a local checklist flora of the Heritage Square area as part of the report on Excavations at Magic Mountain (Irwin-Williams and Irwin, 1966).

Literature Cited:
- Varnell, Jeanne, 1972.

Locations: South Table Mountain.  

The Jefferson Sentinel in July, 1972 ran a long article about South Table Mountain describing its history and the need to save it as park land.

Literature Cited:
- Brown, Georgina, 1976.

Locations: South Table Mountain.  

Georgina Brown's Book, The Shining Mountains, describes a grisly murder that took place on South Table Mountain.

Literature Cited:
- Zeise, Larry Steven, 1976.

Locations: North Table Mountain.  

The Colorado Chapter of the Nature Conservancy funded an ecological survey of North Table Mountain by Larry S. Zeise (1976) under the supervision of John W. Marr of the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Literature Cited:
- Kilburn, Paul D., and Sally L. White, 1992.

Other articles:
• North Table Mountain:  Title Page;

Locations: North Table Mountain.  

Paul Kilburn and Sally White (1992) published a short volume on the history and natural features of North Table Mountain. With permission of the authors, I have republished their volume on this website.

Literature Cited:
- Pague, Christopher A., Renee Rondeau, and Mark Duff, 1993.

Locations: North Table Mountain.  

North Table Mountain was described in a report by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program as posessing a Biodiversity rank of B4 (Pague, et al., 1993).

Locations: North Table Mountain. South Table Mountain.
Full Size ImagePoster advertising presentation about South Table Mountain  

In 2001, a presentation by Dr. Robert Raynolds, Loraine Yeatts, and Dr. Kirk Johnson, was made at the American Mountaineering Center describing why the Table Mountains were important to preserve.

Literature Cited:
- Plantae Consulting Services, 2002.

Locations: South Table Mountain.  

Maureen O'Shea-Stone published a vegetation survey report of the portion of South Table Mountain owned by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Plantae Consulting Services, 2002).

Literature Cited:
- Sovell, John, Pam Smith, Denise Culver, Susan Panjabi and Joe Stevens, 2012.

Locations: North Table Mountain.  

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program prepared a survey of critical biological resources for Jefferson County (Sovell, et al., 2012), in which North Table Mountain was upgraded to Biodiversity Rank B3.
  Understanding urban flora …

Literature Cited:
- Clemants, Steven E., and Gerry Moore, 2003.  





Useful Publications


Literature Cited:
- Harrington, H. D., 1954.  

Harrington's Manual of the Plants of Colorado (1954) is occasionally helpful because it has more extensive descriptions of the taxa. Also, Harrington wrote a natural key rather than the artificial key in Weber & Wittmann (2012) and Ackerfield (2015). One problem is, though, that the progress of science has made some of Harrington's groups obsolete or moved some taxa from one group to another.

Literature Cited:
- Baldwin, Bruce G., Douglas H. Goldman, David J. Keil, Robert Patterson, and Thomas J. Rosatti, 2012.
- Shaw, Robert B., 2008.
- Wingate, Janet L., 1994.  

Shaw's (2008) Grasses of Colorado is typically where I start with grasses. I will then use Ackerfield (2015) or Weber & Wittmann (2012) to confirm a grass determination. Although, for a few collections, most recently one of Elymus lanceolatus, the most straight forward key was found in Wingate (1994) Illustrated Keys to Grasses of Colorado. And, finally, just to insert an element of heresy into the discussion, keying out a brome used in a revegetation project proved to be impossible until I turned to Baldwin, et al. (2012) Jepson Manual of the California Flora.

Literature Cited:
- Weber, William A., and Ronald C. Wittmann, 2012.  

Weber and Wittmann's Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope (2012, 4th edition) is a highly developed diagnostic manual. It suffers somewhat from an unconventional use of names. However, with a little use, the synonomy with other floras becomes fairly clear. I typically use Weber & Wittmann (2012) to confirm a determination. Sometimes, though, a plant will key out easily in this manual when it has failed in another.

Literature Cited:
- Ackerfield, Jennifer, 2015.  

Ackerfield's (2015) Flora of Colorado is, of course, the current best manual for Colorado. Its publication was a great step forward. Like when I used to write computer code, the first version was always serviceable, but each succeeding version was an enormous improvement, and we eagerly await the next edition of Flora of Colorado.

Literature Cited:
- Wingate, Janet L., 2017.  

I have successfully used Wingate's (2017) Sedges of Colorado, and I am still learning my way around the book and sedges. The book is really well-illustrated, in the keys, in the species descriptions, and in the supplemental information.
  Two general books that do not specifically address Colorado flora, but that I find really helpful are:

Literature Cited:
- Harrington, H. D. and L. W. Durrell, 1957.  

Harrington and Durrell (1957) is good introduction to identifying plants, and how to collect them. While the references to floras have become really dated, in the center of the book is a list of 25 questions to be answered when identifying plants. I found this idea, i.e., to examine the plant carefully before opening a flora key was very helpful.

Literature Cited:
- Harris, James G., and Melinda Woolf Harris, 2001.  

Harris and Harris (2nd ed., 2001) is a veritable treasure, providing the basis for consistency in describing plants in a very well illustrated and accessible form.





Data was collected in two ways: online herbarium record search and collecting plants in the field.



Herbarium Search

Online herbarium search was performed using SEINet (SEINet Portal Network, 2014-2019). Searches were made two ways, one using the locality name “Golden” and the other using geographic coordinates that include the boundary of Golden s.l.. The collection data was entered a Microsoft Access data base. 1125 collections were found in this way.




  Data was also collected by making plant collections and observations in the field. Scientific collecting permits were obtained from the City of Golden, Colorado School of Mines, and Jefferson County Open Space.
  Collections were made when the plants were in a condition that permitted making a good quality collection, such as one containing stem, leaves, flowers, and perhaps seed, and when in sufficient quality that never more than one-tenth of the extant plant material was collected. My data set contains 591 collections that I personally made. The author does not make a practice of seeking out or collecting rare plants.
  Observations were made when the amount of plant material was insufficient, or an easily recognizable plant was not in a condition to make a good quality collection, or if there were already collections of the taxon but at other parts of the parcels. My data set contains 563 observations.
  Observations and collections were recorded in a field notebook at the time made. Geographic location was obtained from a Garmin 76CSx GPS receiver, and downloaded using Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNRGPS. Notebook and GPS data were stored in a Microsoft Access data base and exported to ArcGIS. Collections were transferred to standard botanical presses from a field press. When dry the collections identified, labelled, and distributed to herbaria.
  I plan to continue collecting around Golden s.l. for the foreseeable future. Therefore, this document will continue to change as time passes.








Collections Found


Full Size ImageLocations of georeferenced collections in Golden, before I started collecting.
Full Size ImageLocations of georeferenced collections in Golden, after 2016 collecting season
Full Size ImageLocations of georeferenced collections in Golden, after 2018 collecting season  
A map of known georeferenced plant collections made in or near Golden shown at left.
Full Size Image
Locations of georeferenced collections in Golden, after 2019 collecting season

Full Size ImageNumber of Collections per Year in Golden s.l.  
There are about 1,600 collections that have been made in Golden and vicinity. Collecting events have been sporadic at best. This oldest known collection is of Crataegus succulenta made by an unknown collector in 1822. Marcus E. Jones is credited with a number of collections in 1878. A little caution is required for Jones' collections, though, as his localities were often loosely interpreted. Mrs. Ella Bailar made a blip in 1905. Then the collections by Ernest H. Brunquist in support of the Magic Mountain archleogical dig standout. Loraine Yeatts entry into the world of botany is a standout in 1983. Finally, my own work had increased the number of collections by more than 50% at the end of 2018.


Major Collectors in Golden and Vicinity


Loraine Yeatts

  Collections found by collector, as of December 31, 2018:
CollectorNumber of Collections
Tom Schweich574
Loraine Yeatts334
E. H. Brunquist121
Janet L. Wingate107
Anonymous or Unknown60
Hansford T. Schacklette52
J. H. Ehlers44
Stanley Smookler42
Mrs. Ella Bailar31
Marcus E. Jones30
Berta Anderson19
Ira W. Clokey18
William Huestis17
Jim Ratzloff16
Ellsworth Bethel15
Peter G. Root14
Will C. Ferril13
Mark Duff13
R. J. Rondeau11
Earl L. Johnston10
H. D. Harrington10

Janet L. Wingate


E. H. Brunquist

Ernest Herman Brunquist (1888 - 1978)
m. Esther Mercer, March 22, 1923
1972, botanist for Denver Museum of Natural History.

Literature Cited:
- University of Colorado, College of Liberal Arts, Junior Class, 1909.
Full Size ImageWilliam S. Huestis in 1910.  

William S. Huestis

Sometimes spelled “Heustis,” William S. Huestis collected primarily in 1904-1906, and then again in 1916. There are a total of 766 collections attributed to Huestis. All of his collections are from Colorado and are deposited at University of Colorado, Boulder (herbarium code COLO). He collected mostly around Denver at such places described as “Cherry Creek near Alameda Street” or Berkeley. He must have ridden the street car like Alice Eastwood because there are a number of collections in Jefferson County along Clear Creek, including Wheat Ridge. There are only five collections that specifically say “Golden” and a few more from Lookout Mountain, mountains around Golden. William S. Huestis graduated from the University of Colorado, College of Liberal Arts, in 1910 (The Coloradoan, 1910).

Literature Cited:
- Jones, Marcus E., n.d..  

Marcus E. Jones only visits to the Golden area were in 1878. He writes in his notes
… On the 17th. Got 255 and others in the foothills near Golden and at Golden. On the 20th, got 268, 273 and others at Golden, and 226-238, 246, 256-267, 270-272, 274-275 in Clear Creek Canyon going toward Idaho Springs. … August 1st. Got 528-532 at Idaho Springs, 522-523 at Golden. On the 2nd. 524-527 on the road to Denver. …



Collections Made








Taxa represented by single collections.



Taxa without infra-specific determinations.




Rare Plants

  There are two plants found in Golden s.l. that are ranked as “rare” by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1345, 12 May 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1345, Physaria vitulifera  

Physaria vitulifera Rydb. Fiddleleaf twinpod

Global Rank: G3, State Rank: S3: Vulnerable, found locally in a restricted range.

Reported as an endemic of central Colorado in the Flora of North America (FNA Vol. 7). Known from Boulder, Clear Creek, Douglas, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Park and Teller counties.

There is also a hybrid, currently designated Physaria ×1, and some current collections determined P. vitulifera may be of that hybrid.


Spiranthes diluvialis Sheviak. Ute ladies' tresses


Full Size ImageSpiranthes diluvialis  
Global Rank: G2G3, State Rank: S2: Widely distributed, but severely threatened where it occurs.

Populations of Ute ladies'-tresses orchids are known from three broad general areas of the interior western United States -- near the base of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern Wyoming and adjacent Nebraska and north-central and central Colorado; in the upper Colorado River basin, particularly in the Uinta Basin; and in the Bonneville Basin along the Wasatch Front and westward in the eastern Great Basin, in north-central and western Utah, extreme eastern Nevada, and southeastern Idaho.

The species is threatened throughout its range by many forms of water developments, intense domestic livestock grazing, haying, exotic species invasion, fragmentation and urbanization in particular.

In Golden s.l., we do not identify locations where this plant has been found.



Notable Native Plants

Every native plant is notable to a native plant enthusiast. It is hard to pick out just a few for special mention.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1445, 22 Jun 2016;   Coll. No. 1445.2, 22 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1445, Eriogonum umbellatum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1445, Eriogonum umbellatum var. umbellatum  

Eriogonum umbellatum Torr. Sulphur-Flower Buckwheat.

Quntessential Jefferson County plant because the type was collected in Jefferson County by Edwin James, M.D. in 1820. The species is native to western North America from California to Colorado to central Canada, where it is abundant and found in many habitats. This is an extremely variable plant and hard to identify because individuals can look very different from one another. Also, there are a great many varieties. Nearly all in Golden s.l. will be var. umbellatum, though var. ramsulosum was described from Mount Vernon Canyon on the southern edge of Golden.


Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   near Golden Cliffs;
• Field Notes:  Thursday, June 2nd;
Full Size ImageTiny Mousetails (Myosurus minimus) on top of North Table Mountain.  

Myosurus minimus L. Tiny Mousetail.

This tiny little plant has been found only on top of North Table Mountain, in drying ponds and muddy places.


Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   along trail;
• Field Notes:   along trail;
Full Size ImageCorydalis aurea along the North Table Loop.  

Corydalis aurea Willd. Scrambled Eggs.

An annual or possibly biennial found occasionally on North and South Table Mountains. Bright yellow.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1812, 10 May 2018;   Coll. No. 1839, 17 May 2018;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1839, Boechera fendleri
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1812, Boechera fendleri  

Boechera fendleri (S.Watson) W.A.Weber. Fendler's Rockcress.

(Syn: Arabis fendleri (S. Watson) Greene )

Collected on North and South Table Mountains. Probably more common but easily overlooked.


Literature Cited:
- Ackerfield, Jennifer, 2015.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Notes on Amelanchier alnifolia
• North Table Loop:  
at Coll. No. 1800;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1800, 7 May 2018;  Coll. No. 2253, 30 Apr 2020;  Coll. No. 2267, 9 May 2020;

Locations: Chimney Gulch. Dakota Ridge. North Table Mountain Park. South Table Mountain Park. Tin Cup Ridge.  

Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. Ex M. Roem. Saskatoon Serviceberry.

Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. ex M. Roem. “Saskatoon Serviceberry” and the related Amelanchier utahensis Koehne are found occasionally around Golden. Some authors, such as Ackerfield (2015), treat A. utahensis as a variety of A. alnifolia, explaining that the two taxa overlap in morphology and distribution, and that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to assign one name or the other to some specimens. Then we would have:
  • Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. ex M. Roem. var. alnifolia “Saskatoon Serviceberry” and
  • Amelanchier alnifolia (Nutt.) Nutt. Ex M. Roem. Var. utahensis (Koehne) M. E. Jones “Utah Serviceberry”

The author citation “(Nutt.) Nutt. Ex M. Roem.” is curious. It seems that Nuttall (1818) first published Aronia alnifolia Nutt. Then Nuttall (1834) used the name Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt. It would seem that he accepted that the taxon should be in Amelanchier, but his simple listing of the name, without specifying the basionym (a first name for the taxon) was an invalid naming, or nom. Inval. It was not until Roemer (1847) that Amelanchier alnifolia was validly published from a description by Nuttall. Additional details are given in the appendices.

Around Golden, the author has collected A. alnifolia at North Table Mountain, Tin Cup Ridge, and Dakota Ridge. Loraine Yeatts made several collections at South Table Mountain, and there is one collection in Chimney Gulch by Hazel Schmoll.

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2253, Amelanchier alnifolia
Full Size Image
Habitat of Coll. No. 1800, Amelanchier alnifolia


Literature Cited:
- Nuttall, Thomas, 1813.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1624, 22 May 2017;
Full Size ImageAstragalus crassicarpus “Groundplum Milkvetch”  

Astragalus crassicarpus Nutt. Groundplum Milkvetch.

This interesting milkvetch has an inflated fruit that look like large grapes of small plums. It is widespread around Golden, but not often seen. The best time to see this milkvetch in the field is mid- to late-May. When dry the fruits are still recognizable, just brown and hard.

First collected by Thomas Nuttall “ … above the River Platte … ” probably in 1810, it was published in a list of plants for sale from the garden of John Fraser in London (Nuttall, 1813).

Full Size Image
Habitat of Astragalus crassicarpus on North Table Mountain.


Literature Cited:
- Colorado State University, 2019.

Other articles:
• Spur Social Trail:   top of mesa;
• Field Notes:  Thursday, June 2nd;
Full Size ImagePurple Locoweed (Oxytropis lambertii) on top of North Table Mountain.  

Oxytropis lambertii Pursh. Purple Locoweed.

Quite common, collected in most open spaces around Golden. The first plant collected in Golden s.l. (Edward L. Geeene, May 1, 1870). Toxic to cattle, sheep, horses, and elk. All plant parts contain Swainsonine, an indolizide alkaloid that inhibits an enzyme essential for normal sugar metabolism in cells.


Literature Cited:
- Ackerfield, Jennifer, 2015.
- Andres-Hernandez, Agustina Rosa, Teresa Terrazas, Gerardo Salazar, and Helga Ochoterena, 2014.
- Baldwin, Bruce G., Douglas H. Goldman, David J. Keil, Robert Patterson, and Thomas J. Rosatti, 2012.
- Barkley, Fred Alexander, 1937.
- Torrey, John, and Asa Gray, 1838-1843.
- Watson, Sereno, 1871.
- Weber, William A., 1989.
- Yi, Tingshuang, Allison J. Miller, and Jun Wen, 2007.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:   Rhus trilobata, additional data;
• Field Notes:  20 Jun 2020;  

Rhus trilobata Nutt. Skunkbush.

Rhus trilobata Nutt. Ex Torr. & Gray “Skunkbush” is a common shrub from West Texas to southern California, and throughout the Rocky Mountain to the upper Missouri River. In the Rocky Mountain foothills near Golden, it is found everywhere, but rarely dominates the landscape. Common names are Skunkbush, Skunk Bush, Skunkbush Sumac, and Lemonade-bush. It has also been called Squawbush in the past, but that is now recognized as a perjorative name. “Lemonade”-names are probably better reserved for R. integrifolia.

First collected in the Rocky Mountains by Thomas Nuttall in 1834, it was described by Nuttall, then published by Torrey and Gray (1838) in their Flora of North America.

R. trilobata is sometimes reduced to the rank of variety or, once, subspecies under R. aromatica Aiton. See for example Watson (1871), Weber (1989), and Baldwin et al. (2012). Other authors retain R. trilobata at the rank of species, such as Barkley (1937) and our current Flora of Colorado (Ackerfield, 2015). Recent papers (Yi, et al., 2007 and Andres-Hernandez, et al., 2014) about the phylogeny of Rhus determined from molecular and structural data analyze both R. aromatica and R. trilobata as distinct species. While the studies show the two species to be closely related, the studies also show they are no more closely related than others, such as R. integrifolia and R. ovata.

Full Size Image
Rhus trilobata at the southern end of the Survey Field.
Full Size Image
Rhus trilobata at Ranson/Edwards.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1738, 15 Aug 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1738, Acer glabrum  

Acer glabrum Torr. Rocky Mountain Maple.

Quntessential Jefferson County plant because the type was collected in Jefferson County by Edwin James MD in 1820. In Golden s.l. it has been found on North and South Table Mountains, and Apex Gulch.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:  24 May 2018;
Full Size ImageSphaeralcea on the lowest slopes of North Table Mountain.  

Sphaeralcea coccinea (Nutt.) Rydb. Scarlet Globemallow.

Sometimes called “Cowboy’s Delight,” found throughout Golden’s open spaces, sometimes as a single small delicate plant, sometimes as a larger plant with an extensive root system.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   18 May 2018;

Locations: North Washington Open Space.
Full Size ImageCoryphantha missouriensis  

Coryphantha missouriensis (Sweet) Britt. & Rose. Missouri Foxtail Cactus.

A very low-growing cactus that is also easily overlooked or stepped upon. Unique in that the red fruits develop in the spring a year after flowering.

The “Missouri” name refers to the Missouri River that was a thoroughfare of transportation during the early 19th century, long before the State of Missouri was admitted to the Union in 1821.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Obs. No. 1471, 29 May 2016;
Full Size ImageObs. No. 1471, Echinocereus viridiflorus  

Echinocereus viridiflorus Engelm. Nylon Hedgehog Cactus.

A very small beehive-shaped cactus, sometimes growing in very dense clusters. Seen on North and South Table Mountains, and North Washington Open Space.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Obs. No. 1086, 25 Apr 2015;
Full Size ImagePediocactus simpsonii (Nutt.) Haw.  

Pediocactus simpsonii (Engelm.) Britton & Rose. Mountain Ball Cactus.

Known from North and South Table Mountains, and Dakota Ridge. An iconic, easily recognized cactus found in open, dry places throughout much of Colorado.


Other articles:
• Tin Cup Ridge (social trail):   along trail;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1355, 21 May 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1355, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi  

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (L.) Sprengel. Bearberry.

Collected on Lookout Mountain and Tin Cup Ridge. Golden s.l. is a little lower than its usual range.


Literature Cited:
- Brown, Robert, 1810.
- Pursh, Frederick, 1814.
- Ro¨mer, Johann Jacob, Joseph August Schultes, Julius Hermann Schultes, Jurt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel, and J. G. Cotta, 1820.
- SEINet, 2019+.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Convolvulus arvensis;  Evolvulus nuttallianus, additional data;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2319, 6 Jun 2020;  

Evolvulus nuttallianus Roem. & Schult. Shaggy Dwarf Morning Glory.

In the Morning-Glory family (Convolvulaceae) most everyone recognizes Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) a ubiquitous noxious weed, and a plague on every well-tended garden.

It may come as a surprise, then, that there is also a small native perennial morning-glory that is common in sandy places on the plains and found occasionally in the lower foothills. It is the “Shaggy Dwarf Morning Glory” (Evolvulus nuttallianus). Found first by Thomas Nuttall in 1810 on the banks of the Missouri River, it was first named E. argenteus by Frederick Pursh (1814) in his North American Flora. However, the name was previously published by Robert Brown (1810) in his natural history of Australia and Tasmania, then called New Holland and Van Dieman's Land, respectively. Therefore, Pursh's name was illegitimate. Roemer & Schultes (1820) rectified this when they published volume 6 of the 16th edition of Linneaus' Systema Vegetabilium, by applying a new name of E. nuttalianus after, of course, the name of the original collector, Thomas Nuttall.

The first collection in Colorado was made by George Vasey of Powells Colorado Exploring Expedition of 1868. There are vouchers at PRBU, NY, and SJNM (SEINet, 2020). It is not known where in Colorado the collection was made.

In Jefferson County, there are seven collections, one of which is mine from the North Washington Open Space. Loraine Yeatts collected the plant on South Table Mountain in 1983. Four collections were made at Rocky Flats, probably the best studied piece of ground in Jefferson County, and there is one collection from Chatfield.

Full Size Image
Flower of Coll. No. 2319, Evolvulus nuttallianus
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2319, Evolvulus nuttallianus


Other articles:
• Tilting Mesa Trail:   at pond;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1959, 21 Jun 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1959, Heliotropium curassavicum  

Heliotropium curassavicum L. Seaside Heliotrope.

Not seen in the Metro Denver since 1916 when Wm. Huestis collected it in the Berkeley suburb of Denver. Rediscovered on North Table Mountain in 2018 by Bob Legier. There are just a few small plants.


Literature Cited:
- Fernandez-Mazuecos, Mario, Jose Luis Blanco-Pastor, and Pablo Vargas, 2013.
- Sutton, D. A., 1988.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Dakota Ridge;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2077, 14 Jun 2019;

Locations: Dakota Ridge.  

Linaria canadensis (L.) Dum.-Cours. var. texana (Scheele) Pennell. Blue Toadflax, Texas Toadflax.

A commonly used synonym for this plant is Nuttallanthus texanus (Scheele) D. A. Sutton. This name was proposed by Sutton (1988) to separate the new world Linaria from the old world Linaria. However, recent phylogenetic work (Fernandez-Mazuecos, et al., 2013) shows that the new world plants need to be retained in the new world genus Linaria.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2077, Linaria canadensis var. texana
  One collection in 1915 alongside the railroad at the west edge of Golden, and then not seen again until 2019 when it was found on Dakota Ridge. Also collected by Loraine & Dick Yeatts at White Ranch. Generally thought to be an annual.


Other articles:
• Tin Cup Ridge (social trail):   at Coll. 1109;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2252, 30 Apr 2020;
• Glossary:  disjunct;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 2252, Balsamorhiza sagittata
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1109, Balsamorhiza sagittata  

Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt. “Arrow-Leaf Balsam Root.

Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt. Arrow-Leaf Balsam Root” is a Colorado native, but probably not to Golden. It has been found in two small colonies on Tin Cup Ridge, above the Rooney Road sports complex. Common in the mountains of the western slope of Colorado, such as Grand Mesa, it is found throughout the western United States to the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada in California. The most common explanation of its presence in Golden is that seeds were planted on Tin Cup Ridge. However, there is no evidence except that it is a disjunct population.


Literature Cited:
- Nuttall, Thomas, 1818.
- Sprengel, Curt Polycarp Joachim, 1826.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Cirsium arvense;  Cirsium undulatum, additional information;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2377, 23 Jun 2020;  

Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng. Wavy Leaved Thistle.

There are three true thistles, i.e., Cirsium spp., that are reported for Golden.

C. undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng. the “Wavy Leaved Thistle” is the native thistle most-often seen around Golden. It is short, 1-2 feet, as thistles go, and usually has only one or two flower heads at the top of a single stem.

The plant was first seen by Thomas Nuttall on Lake Huron in 1810. He would find it again later in the Upper Louisiana Territory, presumably somewhere along the Missouri River. Nuttall published his findings in his Genera of North America Plants in 1818 as Cnicus undulatus Nutt. Sprengel (1826) would revise the genus to Cirsium in Systema vegetabilium, the 16th edition of Linneaus' Species Plantarum.

In Golden, C. undulatum has been collected by me in the Colorado School of Mines Survey Field. Loraine Yeatts collected it on South Table Mountain, and Ernest H. Brunquist at Heritage Square. Additionally, it has been observed on Dakota Ridge, North Table Mountain, and at the North Washington Open Space.

The other native true thistle that may be found in Golden is C. ochrocentrum A. Gray “Yellowspine Thistle.” There is one collection determined C. ochrocentrum, that of Edmund Cross made 20 Jul 1913 (RM313305) along the railroad tracks. However, an apparent duplicate of that collection (RM313306) is determined C. undulatum.

At the opposite end of the native/non-native spectrum, is the noxious weed Cirsium arvense, “Canada thistle” that is discussed at length below.

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2377, Cirsium undulatum with bumblebee.
Full Size Image
Big bumblebee on Cirsium undulatum
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Coll. No. 2377, Cirsium undulatum in progress.


Locations: North Washington Open Space.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 2229, Ericameria nauseosa var. graveolens  

Ericameria nauseosa (Pall. ex Pursh) G.L.Nesom & G.I.Baird var. graveolens (Nutt.) Reveal & Schuyler.

One of the most common shrubs in Golden s.l. and frequently adventive in neighborhood gardens. Its name, in itself, is a history lesson. Found in all the open spaces.

Typically, we apply the common name “Rubber Rabbitbrush” to this shrub. However, a better common name might be “Goldy Locks” because the first name applied to it was Chrysocoma which literally translates to Golden Locks, or more precisely Golden Tuft-of-Hair.

Full Size ImageTea made from Thelesperma megapotamicum
Full Size ImageHead of Thelesperma megapotamicum  

Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze. Hopi Tea Greenthread.

Greenthread has ethnographic interest from its use in making dyes and medicinal teas. It is common around Golden, found North Washington Open Space, on North and South Table Mountains, and in the CSM Survey Field. There are twenty collections from Jefferson County.

The involucre has two rows of phyllaries, the lowest spreading, and the upper appressed. Pinnately divided leaves with linear to filiform lobes and a unique involucre make this plant easy to identify in the field.


Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1071, 12 Mar 2015.;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1071, Townsendia hookeri  

Townsendia hookeri Beaman. Hooker's Townsend Daisy.

This white daisy (see Figure 7, above) is often overlooked because of its small size and very early blooming date. It typically blooms from mid-March to mid-April. Common, but only collected from CSM Mines Survey Field and South Table Mountain. The type was collected by Ira W. Clokey in Mount Vernon Canyon just south of Golden s.l.


Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Buffalo Grass, additional information;  

Buchloe dactyloides



Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1551, 1 Sep 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1551, Munroa squarrosa  

Munroa squarrosa (Nutt.) Torr. False Buffalograss.

Sometimes spelled Monroa, this odd little grass has been found on both North and South Table Mountains.


Other articles:
• Social Trail:   at corner;
• Field Notes:   14 Mar 2018;
Full Size ImageCarex inops var. heliophila along the trail.  

Carex inops L.H. Bailey ssp. heliophila (Mack.) Crins. Sun Sedge.

This small, early blooming sedge has feen found throughout Golden s.l. open spaces, typically in open places where it can get a good start before taller plants. It is often found in full sun and can tolerate some dryness. It spreads slowly by rhizomes.



Literature Cited:
- Colorado Department of Agriculture, 2014-2019.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Golden s.l. noxious grasses;  

Notable Non-Native Plants

  About 158 taxa of plants found in Golden s.l. are non-native. This is roughly 30% of all taxa found here.
  In terms of the number of non-native taxa from each family, the greatest number are from the grass family (Poaceae). The top ten are listed in the Table below.

  Three families, Poaceae, the “Grass family,” Brassicaceae, “the Mustard family,” and Asteraceae, the “Sunflower family,” account for about 40% of all non-native taxa in Golden s.l. This seems to be typical of the urban environment
“… just a few families contain a considerable portion of the species … Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Brassicaceae comprise 38.8% of species … this is typical of other non-native floras …” (Mosyakin and Yavorska, 2002)
  Some global studies have placed Fabaceae, the Pea family, in this group. Indeed, the Pea family is ranked fourth among families contributing non-native taxa to Golden s.l.
  The following discussion will first discuss the noxious weeds known from Golden s.l., then non-native grasses, mustards, and sunflowers, in that order.



Noxious Weeds

Thirty-five of the 158 non-native taxa are listed Colorado Noxious Weeds. The aim of the Noxious Weed program is to control noxious weeds, the non-native aggressive invaders that replace native vegetation, reduce agricultural productivity, cause wind and water erosion and pose an increased threat to communities from wildfire (Colorado Department of Agriculture, 2019).


List A

List A Species in Colorado that are designated by the [Colorado Department of Agriculture] Commissioner for eradication. The most common List A species in the Golden area is Euphorbia myrsinites L. (Syn: Tithymalus myrsinites (L.) Hill) Myrtle Spurge.

Other articles:
• Cheyenne Street:   near 5th;
• Gregory Drive:  30290;
• Kinney Run Trail:   at slope;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1779, 12 Apr 2018;  20190310;
Full Size ImageInfestation of Myrtle Spurge between Gregory Drive and Goldco Circle.
Full Size ImageMyrtle Spurge as a treasured landscaping element.  

Euphorbia myrsinites L. Myrtle Spurge

Euphorbia myrsinites L. Myrtle Spurge is ubiquitous in Golden s.l. Sprayed by either the City of Golden or Jefferson County Open Space where it is known to occur, it is often found in obscure or hidden places. It is also a common residential landscape plant. In the North Washington Open Space, previous mowing by the neighbors kept the plants small, but the species also spreads by small underground stems called rhizomes, thus allowing the plants to spread even if kept mowed.

Full Size Image
Habitat of Coll. No. 1779, Euphorbia myrsinites in Kinney Run.
On North Table Mountain, the plant is found at the tops and bottoms of the cliffs of the southwest side. I have found it hidden in off-trail locations in Kinney Run, and on Tin Cup Ridge. It is also found in Chimney Gulch and the Survey Field.

Full Size ImagePaul Rothrock photo of Lythrum salicaria  

Lythrum salicaria L. Purple Loosetrife

Lythrum salicaria L. Purple Loosetrife. Along Clear Creek on Miller-Coors property. Status unknown.

Full Size ImageMax Lichter photograph of Arundo donax  

Arundo donax L. Giant Reed

Arundo donax L. Giant Reed. In Colorado, this noxious grass is known from only one collection made near the Jefferson County Government Center. There is a report of the giant reed at Lowell Ponds State Wildlife Area. It is possible that it is undercollected, but if that were true, then one would expect at least a few other collections. In adjacent states, there are many collections from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, with a fewcollections from Utah and Kansas.


List B

List B Species are species for which the Commissioner, in consultation with the state noxious weed advisory committee, local governments, and other interested parties, develops and implements state noxious weed management plans designed to stop the continued spread of these species. The following List B plants are found in Golden s.l.:

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1983, 20 Jul 2018;
Full Size ImageSaponaria officinalis  

Saponaria officinalis L. Bouncingbet

There is one collection from North Table Mountain along the former quarry road now forming part of North Table Loop. Several plants were found and removed along the social trail on the east side of the hill in the North Washington Open Space. Probably more widespread and undercollected, also seen as landscaping plant.

Full Size ImageLoraine Yeatts Coll. No. 1073, Clematis orientalis  

Clematis orientalis L. Oriental Virginsbower

There are three collections in Golden, generally in waste places: Clear Creek Whitewater Park, Golden Water Treatment Plant, and South Table Mountain. It is distinguished from native Clematis by virtue of its yellow sepals.
  “Although Clematis orientalis has been naturalized in the Rocky Mountains since the late nineteenth century, it has spread especially rapidly since ca. 1975, becoming weedy and, in some localities, constituting a threat to young trees and native shrubby and herbaceous species.” – James S. Pringle in FNANM.

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at Coll. No. 1441;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1441, 15 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1441, Hesperis matronalis  

Hesperis matronalis L. Dame’s Rocket

One collection, at the pond on Deadman Gulch just west of US Hwy 6, wiped out when dam was reconstructed. Watch!

Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   half-way;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1366, 24 May 2016;  Coll. No. 1874, 23 May 2018;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1366, Lepidium draba
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1874, Lepidium draba  

Lepidium draba L. White Top

Widespread, often found on slopes overrun by smooth brome. Collected in 1940 in Golden (“fallow fields and roadsides”) more recently on Eagle Ridge, North Table Mountain, and Tin Cup Ridge.

Full Size ImageWeber & Randolph Coll. No. 17349, Lepidium latifolium  

Lepidium latifolium L. Broad-Leaved Pepper-Grass

One collection, location described as “just west of Hwy 6 S of junction with Golden Road”

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1680, 28 Jun 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1680, Potentilla recta  

Potentilla recta L. Sulphur Cinquefoil

Sulfur cinquefoil is a perennial forb that is native to the eastern Mediterranean region of Eurasia. The first collection of sulfur cinquefoil in North America was made sometime before 1900 in Ontario. How and where it was introduced to North America is unknown. The first collection in Colorado was made June 15, 1948 by William A. Weber, 1 mile west of Valmont, Boulder County. In Golden, sulfur cinquefoil has been collected on South Table Mountain and in Apex Gulch. It was not collected by E. H. Brunquist in 1959-1960 so its introduction to Apex Gulch is recent. It is probably under collected, e.g., very common at Ranson/Edwards.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1657, 5 Jun 2017;  Coll. No. 1795, 27 Apr 2018;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1795, Euphorbia esula
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1657, Euphorbia esula  

Euphorbia esula L. Leafy Spurge

Euphorbia esula L. Leafy Spurge. Common and widespread.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1437, 15 Jun 2016;   Coll. No. 1645, 30 May 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1645, Elaeagnus angustifolia
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1437, Elaeagnus angustifolia  

Elaeagnus angustifolia L. Russian Olive

The Russian Olive tree, native to Europe and Asia, was originally promoted by the federal government in the 1930s to control erosion in the Dust Bowls. It was also promoted as an ornamental. Unfortunately, it turned out that the trees take over river corridors and can completely cut off native species. Research has shown that they do not provide a habitat for cavity-dwelling birds, such as woodpeckers, bluebirds, tree swallows, and house wrens. In Golden there are many young and mature trees, in the North Washington Open Space, and the Foss property across North Ford Street. They have also been used as a landscape element in numerous locations, such as Altitude Apartments, and along Heritage Road.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Obs. No. 1552, 8 May 2017;   Coll. No. 1827.1, 16 May 2018;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1827.1, Cynoglossum officinale.
Full Size ImageObs. No. 1552, Cynoglossum officinale  

Cynoglossum officinale L. Gypsyflower

Cynoglossum officinale L. Gypsyflower. Well established, often off the beaten path.
Full Size Image
Obs. No. 1552, Cynoglossum officinale

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1206, 12 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1206, Verbascum blattaria
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1206, Verbascum blattaria  

Verbascum blattaria L. Moth Mullein

Verbascum blattaria L. Moth Mullein. One collection in CSM Survey Field with Common Mullein.

Other articles:
• North Table Mountain Trail:  Near water tank;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1393, 8 Jun 2016;   Coll. No. 1641, 30 May 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1393, Linaria dalmatica
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1641, Linaria dalmatica  

Linaria dalmatica (L.) Mill. Dalmatian ToadFlax

Linaria dalmatica (L.) Mill. (Syn: Linaria dalmatica (L.) Mill. ssp. dalmatica, Linaria genistifolia (L.) Mill. ssp. dalmatica (L.) Maire & Petitm.) Dalmatian ToadFlax. Ubiquitous, under collected.

Full Size ImageStan Smookler collection of Dipsacus fullonum  

Dipsacus fullonum L. Fuller's Teasel

Dipsacus fullonum L. Fuller's Teasel. Common and widespread, under collected.

Full Size ImageKarin McShea collection of Dipsacus laciniatus  

Dipsacus laciniatus L. Cutleaf Teasel

Dipsacus laciniatus L. Cutleaf Teasel. Likely confused with the former and under collected.

Full Size ImageMax Lichter photograph of Acroptilon repens  

Acroptilon repens (L.) DC. Russian Knapweed

Acroptilon repens (L.) DC. Russian Knapweed. Open field between ranches on north side of Table Mountain and Table Rock subdivision, status unknown.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1711, 14 Jul 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1711, Carduus nutans  

Carduus nutans L. Nodding Plumeless Thistle

Carduus nutans L. (Syn: Carduus nutans L. ssp. macrolepis (Peterman) Kazmi) Nodding Plumeless Thistle. Widespread and common.

C. nutans has been collected in Kinney Run, at North Washington Open Space, and South Table Mountain. There are observations of the thistle from North Table Mountain and Tin Cup Ridge.

Other articles:
• “Tilting Mesa Cut-Off”:   near saddle;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1233, 20 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1233, Centaurea diffusa
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1233, Centaurea diffusa  

Centaurea diffusa Lam. White Knapweed

Centaurea diffusa Lam. (Syn: Acosta diffusa (Lam.) Soja' k) White Knapweed, is widespread and common along the Front Range from Fort Collins south to Colorado Springs with a few collections in various locations around the state. It is possible that this distribution reflects collecting activity as much as actual distribution. In Golden, it has been collected on North Table Mountain and South Table Mountain, and observed on Dakota Ridge, Magic Mountain, and North Washington Open Space.

Literature Cited:
- Duncan, Celestine and Melissa Brown Munson, 2018.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Cirsium undulatum;
• Survey Field Road:  11000;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1200, Cirsium arvense  

Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. Canada Thistle

Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. (Syn: Breea arvensis (L.) Lessing) Canada Thistle. Deep-rooted perennial weed that infests natural areas, pastures, rights-of-ways, seasonal wetlands, and cropland. Widespread and common. Probably native to southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. First introduced into North America in the early 1600s, probably as a contaminant in hay, crop seeds, and ship ballast. Best adpated to open sunny sites on well-drained, deep fine-textured soils. Clumps or patches from an extensive creeping root system. About four feet in height. Small flower heads that are either male or female (dioecious), with patches of a single sex often occurring. Once dispersed, each single-seeded fruitlet is able to establish either a male or female clone through vegetative propagation of its root system. Canada thistle root system may extend as much as 18 feet in one season, but individual roots live only for about 2 years. Typically sprayed when found. Some biological controls are available, though not particularly effective. Others are not imported to the United States due to possible non-target effects on native thistles.

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 1512, Cirsium arvense
Within Golden s.l., there are collections of Canada thistle from Colorado School of Mines Survey Field, South Table Mountain, and North Washington Open Space. It is expected to be found nearly everywhere within the city.

Full Size ImageInflorescence of Coll. No. 1139, Aegilops cylindrica
Full Size ImageInflorescence of Coll. No. 1139, Aegilops cylindrica  

Aegilops cylindrica Host. Jointed Goat Grass

Aegilops cylindrica Host. (Syn: Cylindropyrum cylindricum (Host) Á. Löve) Jointed Goat Grass is found mostly on the east slope and west slope in Colorado. In Golden, it has been collected in Mines Park (and observed in the Survey Field), North Table Mountain, North Washington Open Space, South Table Mountain, and Tin Cup Ridge.


List C

List C Species are species for which the Commissioner, in consultation with the state noxious weed advisory committee, local governments, and other interested parties, will develop and implement state noxious weed management plans designed to support the efforts of local governing bodies to facilitate more effective integrated weed management on private and public lands. The goal of such plans will not be to stop the continued spread of these species but to provide additional education, research, and biological control resources to jurisdictions that choose to require management of List C species. The following List C plants are found in Golden s.l.:

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1790, 23 Apr 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1790, Erodium cicutarium  

Erodium cicutarium (L.) L'Her. ex Aiton. Redstem Stork's Bill

Erodium cicutarium (L.) L'Her. Ex Aiton. Redstem Stork's Bill is also a very common, ubiquitous weed, collected mostly on the east and west slopes of Colorado, though usually not on the eastern plains. Around Golden, it has been collected downtown, in the Survey Field, Dakota Ridge, Heritage Square, North Table mountain, North Washington Open Space, and South Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 994;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 994, Tribulus terrestris  

Tribulus terrestris L. Puncture Vine

Tribulus terrestris L. Puncture Vine. Is common and adventive. Most of the Colorado collections are in the metro Denver area and out on the plains. Within Golden, it has been seen in several places in town and in the surrounding open space. In particular, it has been collected at Heritage Square, and on North Table Mountain and South Table Mountain. The North Table Mountain collection (Schweich, #1547) was made beside the Golden Cliffs Trail, and the South Table Mountain collection (Yeatts, #804) was made in the middle of the road to Castle Rock. Both of these would seem to be recent introductions brought on hiker's boots or bicycle tires.

Other articles:
• “Tilting Mesa Cut-Off”:   at saddle;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1229, 20 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1228, Hypericum perforatum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1229, Hypericum perforatum  

Hypericum perforatum L. Common St. John's Wort

Hypericum perforatum L. Common St. John's Wort. There are about 30 collections from Jefferson County. Most of the Colorado collections are from along the Front Range, including Ranson/Edwards and the Lipincott property. The only collection in Golden s.l. is from the top of North Table Mountain, and an observation made on Dakota Ridge. It is probably more common and widespread.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1436, 15 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1436, Conium maculatum  

Conium maculatum L. Common Poison Hemlock

Conium maculatum L. Common Poison Hemlock. Common and widespread in wet areas; adventive in gardens. Collected along Clear Creek, in the Survey Field, Heritage Square, and North and South Table Mountains.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Evolvulus nuttallianus;
• Plainview Road:   near coll loc west;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1220, 16 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1220, Convolvulus arvensis
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1220, Convolvulus arvensis  

Convolvulus arvensis L. Field Bindweed

Convolvulus arvensis L. Field Bindweed. Very common, ubiquitous weed, although not often collected.

In my garden I have a protocol to remove bindweed. It is pretty labor intensive, but it seems to work. When I find bindweed, I pull and dig it out as much as possible. Then I water and watch the spot. If any bindweed comes up again, I drench it with glyphosate. I may have to do this four or five times. This works for a small area. I don't know what could be done with a large field.

I will say this, though, field bindweed really makes a good looking voucher.

Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   at Neighborhood Access Trl;
• Field Notes:   2-Aug-07;
Full Size ImageDense colonies of Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) in Cottonwood Canyon
Full Size ImageCollection No. 512, Verbascum thapsus  

Verbascum thapsus L. Common Mullein

Verbascum thapsus L. Common Mullein. Ubitquitous, forms large dense colonies, frequently adventive in city gardens. Collected in Golden at Apex Gulch and South Table Mountain. Observed on Dakota Ridge, Magic Mountain, North Table Mountain, and North Washington Open Space. Like many noxious weeds, often overlooked and under-collected.

Full Size ImagePaul Rothrock photograph of Arctium minus  

Arctium minus Bernh. Lesser Burdock

Arctium minus Bernh. Lesser Burdock. Known mostly from the Front Range, but also scattered across the western portion of the state. Collected only at Heritage Square.

Other articles:
• Plainview Road:   near coll loc west;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1223, 16 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1223, Cichorium intybus  

Cichorium intybus L. Chicory

Cichorium intybus L. Chicory. In Colorado, occurs mostly at lower elevations on east and west slopes. Appears only on a list of observations for North Table Mountain, probably undercollected, as there are several collections from Rocky Flats and from Chatfield, two places that have been extensively collected.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Bromus japonicus;
• Rubey Drive:   at turn;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1112, 26 May 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1112, Bromus tectorum  

Bromus tectorum L. Cheat Grass

Bromus tectorum L. (Syn: B. tectorum L. var. glabratus Spenn.) Cheat Grass. Ubiquitous, adventive in urban gardens.

Full Size ImageJanet Wingate collection of Elymus repens  

Elymus repens (L.) Gould. Quack Grass

Elymus repens (L.) Gould. (Syn: Elytrigia repens (L.) Desv. ex B. D. Jacks. ) Quack Grass. One collection, Golden location doubtful.

Full Size ImageDorothy Borland collection of Panicum miliaceum  

Panicum miliaceum L. Proso Millet.

Panicum miliaceum L. Proso Millet. The noxious weed sheets distinguish between wild proso millet and domestic proso millet. The only way to distinguish between wild proso millet and domestic proso millet is seed color. Typically, domestic proso millet has white, yellow, light brown, or red seeds. Wild proso millet apparently has black seeds, although some sources mention black seeds on domestic proso millet. I think the real difference between wild and domestic proso millet is the location at which it is found. If it's in a farmer's field, it is domestic proso millet, but if it is in another place we don't want it, then it is wild proso millet. This is a grain crop with many different common names, such as proso millet, broomcorn millet, common millet, hog millet, Kashfi millet, red millet, and white millet. About 250,000 acres are planted with proso millet in Colorado, nostly on the northeast plains. It is an annual grsss that is native to Asia or middle Europe. Known only from Lookout Mountain.

Other articles:
• Tucker Gulch Trail:   above 1st St;   near 1st;
• Field Notes:   10 Aug 2014;  Coll. No. 1114, 26 May 2015;   Coll. No. 1651, 1 Jun 2017;

Locations: Colorado School of Mines Survey Field. Tucker Gulch (lower).
Full Size ImageTucker Gulch, north from First Street  

Poa bulbosa L. Bulbous Bluegrass

Widespread. Collected and seen in multiple places along the North Table Loop, especially on the lower slopes of North Table Mountain. It is quite dense in Tucker Gulch near the First Street bridge (Schweich #1114). Collected by Janet L. Wingate at the former intersection of US Highway 6 and Tripp Road. This is likely near the undercrossing of US Highway 6 by the Kinney Run Trail. Also seen along an elk trail in the southern end of the Survey Field.
Full Size Image
Florets of Coll. No. 1114, Poa bulbosa.
Full Size Image
Inflorescence of Coll. No. 1114, Poa bulbosa.


Watch List

Watch List Species that have been determined to pose a potential threat to the agricultural productivity and environmental values of the lands of the state. The Watch List is intended to serve advisory and educational purposes only. Its purpose is to encourage the identification and reporting of these species to the Commissioner in order to facilitate the collection of information to assist the Commissioner in determining which species should be designated as noxious weeds. There are two plants in Golden s.l. that are on the Watch List:

Full Size ImageStanley Smookler collection of Carthamus lanatus  

Carthamus lanatus L. Wooly Distaff Thistle

Known from one collection along Lubahn Trail, base of South Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1710, 14 Jul 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1710, Gypsophila paniculata  

Gypsophila paniculata L. Baby's Breath

North Washington Open Space. Baby's breath is an ornamental species that has escaped cultivation. Once established, it can form dense stands and is difficult to control. In pastures and rangeland, it competes with forage species and decreases hay forage quality. There is only one other collection from Jefferson County, Colorado.

Literature Cited:
- Mosyakin, Sergei L., and Oksana G. Yavorska, 2002.  

... just a few families contain a considerable portion of the species ... Asteraceae, Poaceae, and Brassicaceae comprise 38.8% of species ... this is typical of other non-native floras … (Mosyakin and Yavorska, 2002)


Non-Native Grasses in the Golden Landscape.

There are 29 species of alien grasses that have been collected in Golden s/l.. Six of those grasses are listed Colorado noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are discussed under “Noxious Weeds,” above.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:   non-native;  

Colorado Noxious Weed List A:

Colorado Noxious Weed List B:

Colorado Noxious Weed List C:

  The other 24 non-native grasses in Golden are not listed noxious weeds. Unlisted non-native grasses:

That does not mean the grasses have no impact on native vegetation. What are these grasses? How did these grasses get to Golden?

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  smooth brome;  

Some of these grasses came to Colorado as weeds, perhaps in the hooves of animals. Others, though, were planted intentionally, as part of an attempt to improve rangelands. Here are two ways that non-native grasses are currently being introduced to the Golden landscape.

First, The City of Golden publishes revegetation requirements (Golden,2019) these guidelines list several mixes from seed companies, such as Arkansas Valley Seeds, Pawnee Buttes Seed Company, and Western Native Seed. The names of the grasses are all common names, so identifying the actual seed to be used can be unclear. Some of the grasses in these mixes are native, or cultivars of grasses that may be native. Some are native to Colorado, but clearly not native to Golden. For example, the Rocky Mountain Native Mix from Arkansas Valley Seeds contains Mountain Brome “Bromar.” This is clearly not native to Golden. Rocky Mountain Fescue “Native” is also suspect. Galleta Grass “Viva” is very unlikely to be native to Golden.

Second, Echters' “Dryland Pasture Mix” is described as being great for meadows and for erosion control. It can be used to reseed meadows and wildlife areas. The grasses are heat and cold tolerant, palatable and provide good nutrition for livestock and wildlife. It is said to be drought tolerant. The mix has changed through in the last few years since I first noticed it. The current (2019) mix contains six alien grasses, as follows:

20%Tall Fescue
20%Annual Rye
10%Smooth Brome
10%Orchard Grass

Since common names are used on the grass mix label, it can be difficult to tell what grasses are really being planted. “Tall Fescue” is most likely Schedonorus arundinaceus (Schreb.) Dumort. (Syn: Festuca arundinacea Schreb., Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S. J. Darbyshire) is a cool-season perennial C3 species of bunchgrass native to Europe. It is an important forage grass throughout Europe, and many cultivars have been used in agriculture. It is also an ornamental grass in gardens, and a phytoremediation plant (Wikipedia, 2019). As discussed below, the SEINet taxon tree treats Schedonorus a. as a distinct taxon from Festuca a. and Lolium a..

Annual Rye grass appears to be Lolium multiflorum Lam. There are no collections of L. multiflorum in Golden s.l. or nearby and it will not be discussed further.

“Wheatgrass” could be Pascopyrum or Thinopyrum, or possibly Elymus. The most common of those grasses around Golden is Intermediate Wheatgrass Thinopyrum intermedium (Host) Barkworth & D. R. Dewey and this is probably what is in the mix. T. intermedium is discussed further below as an alien grass that is common in the Golden s. l. area.

Festulolium, c.f., F. braunii K.A. is a hybrid cross between the Festuca and Lolium species. The agronomic benefits of festulolium started to gain acceptance in the late 1950’s with demand steadily increasing over the years. Festulolium is mainly utilized in pastures for grazing and stockpiling, either in mixes or pure stands. Silage and green chop are other major uses. Benefits include higher forage yields than perennial ryegrass, forage quality similar to perennial ryegrass, increased mid summer growth compared to other cool season grasses, high disease resistance, winterhardiness and persistence. There are a few older collections of grasses determined some species of Festulolium online in SEINet, but it is unclear whether those are the F. braunii hybrid or an older use of Festulolium as a genus name.

“Smooth Brome” is most likely Bromus inermis Leyss. This alien grass is ubiquitous in Golden s. l. and discussed in more detail below.

“Orchard Grass” is Dactylis glomerata L. The alien Orchard Grass is also very common in Golden s. l. and also discussed in more detail below.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 821;  Coll. No. 1856, 18 May 2018;

Locations: North Washington Open Space.
Full Size ImageMy collection of Agropyroncristatum at Denver Botanic Gardens  

Agropyron cristatum (L.) Gaertn. Crested Wheat Grass

There are collections of Crested Wheat Grass from North and South Table Mountains and from the North Washington Open Space. The grass is commonly collected throughout Colorado, except at the higher altitudes. Crested Wheat Grass is often used in “range improvement” projects and is found throughout the Cordilleran West. It is likely undercollected because it is so common.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 821, Agropyron cristatum, "Crested Wheat Grass"
  City of Golden categorizes Crested Wheat Grass as an invasive, non-native grass to avoid for revegetation (Golden, 2019).

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1225, 16 Jul 2015;
Full Size ImageE. H. Brunquist collection of Agrostis gigantea
Full Size ImageMy collection of Agrostis gigantea from Ranson/Edwards.  

Agrostis gigantea Roth. Redtop

There are two collections of Redtop, one from from the top of North Table Mountain, and the other likely from the Magic Mountain Archeological Site. Outside of Golden s.l. there are several collections of the grass ranging from Rocky Flats in the north to Chatfield in the south of Jefferson County. The author has collected it at Ranson/Edwards.

Other articles:
• Tucker Gulch Trail:   above First;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2274.1, 12 May 2020;
Full Size ImageSchweich collection of Alopecurus arundinaceus  

Alopecurus arundinaceus Poir. Creeping Reed Foxtail

The genus Alopecurus consists of about 50 species distributed throughout the Temperate and Arctic Zones of the Northern Hemisphere The name, Alopecurus, is derived form the Greek words Alopex meaning fox, and oura meaning tail, referring to the characteristic cylindrical panicle.

There is considerable variation in application of common names to Alopecurus arundinaceus; a typical problem with common names. Shaw (2008) and Ackerfield (2015) apply Creeping Meadow Foxtail. Welsh, et al. (1993) use Creeping Foxtail. Monsen, et al. (2004) apply Creeping Foxtail and Reed Foxtail as common names. The creeping adjective is germane because A. arundinaceus is is rhizomatous, whereas the very similar A. pratensis is non-rhizomatous. Meadow Foxtail is a literal translation of Alopecurus pratensis and is the common name typically applied to that taxon. So dropping Meadow from the common name of A. arundinaceus would be a good idea would reduce confusion of the two grasses. The specific arundinaceus is from Latin and means "like a reed," from arundo, arundinis, "reed." Therefore, Reed Foxtail would seem like the best common name, with perhaps the adjective Creeping added to acknowledge the rhizomatous nature of the grass.

Regardless of the common name, A. arundinaceus is widespread in Europe and temperate Asia. It was introduced in the United States in 1935, and is now naturalied in the Great Plains, Pacific Northwest, and Intermountain regions. It is commonly seeded as pasture and a hay crop in wet meadows and has spread along waterways and moist drainages.

The sole collection of this grass in Golden s. l. was made in Tucker Gulch, just north of the First Street bridge. There are six other collections (SEINet, 20 Oct 2019) made in Jefferson County, mostly from the Chatfield area and the Majestic View Nature Center.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1930.2, 8 Jun 2018;
Full Size ImageSchweich collection of Alopecurus geniculatus  

Alopecurus geniculatus L. Water Foxtail

These are several collections from North Table Mountain in the area of an ephemeral pond that has been enhanced with a small rock dam. Water foxtail is a small annual grass collected occasionally in wetlands or drying wetands in central Colorado.

There is a similar foxtail grass A. carolinianus that is an annual and distinguished from A. geniculatus by its smaller anthers. I have collected A. carolinianus at Ranson/Edwards and Lippincott Ranch, north of and higher than Golden.

Literature Cited:
- Ackerfield, Jennifer, 2015.
- Shaw, Robert B., 2008.
- Weber, William A., and Ronald C. Wittmann, 2012.  

Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn. California Brome

Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn. (Syn: Ceratochloa carinata (Hook. & Arn.) Tutin) has a common name of “California brome,” or occasionally “Mountain brome.” It is considered to be native to Colorado by Ackerfield (2015) and Shaw (2008), but alien by Weber & Wittmann (2012), who also write, “A species consisting of a number of infertile races, introduced for range revegetation.”

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   28 Apr 2018;

Locations: North Washington Open Space.
Full Size ImageConstruction damage and debris.  

The construction of the condominiums at 410-416 North Ford Street bled over into the North Washington Open Space. The soil was disturbed, construction debris was dumped, and construction equipment was stored on the city-owned parcel. At completion of construction the construction debris and equipment was removed. The disturbed area was covered with a jute mat, and the area seeded. By my collection (Schweich, #2090), the primary species seeded was Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn. “California brome.” The seed mix also contained Triticum aestivum L. “Wheat” as several specimens of that taxon were collected (Schweich, #2089) with the California brome.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2089, Triticum aestivum
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 2090, Bromus carinatus

Literature Cited:
- Arkansas Valley Seeds, 2019.
- Golden, City of, 2019.  

The City of Golden Revegetation Requirements (Golden, 2019) permit use of Mountain Brome “Bromar,” i.e., California brome, in a mix of permanent revegetaion seed. “Bromar” is a selection made in 1933 at the Washington State University Agricultural Experiment Station, in Pullman, Washington. It was released in 1946. The specific mix called out is “Rocky Mountain Native Mix from Arkansas Valley Seeds.” The mix contains 20% California Brome in addition to 8 other grasses (Arkansas Valley Seeds, 2019). The technical specification sheet does not specify the cultivar names of any of the grasses used.

If the preferred mix was applied, then other grasses such as Slender Wheatgrass, Blue Grama, Idaho Fescue, Buffalograss, Green Needlegrass, and Indian Ricegrass should have also been present. However, none of these were seen. Therefore, it would appear that primarily California Brome was applied.

  California Brome is not known from Golden s.l. The closest recent collection is by Janet L. Wingate (#2407, 19 Jun 1983, KHD21846) in a disturbed area at edge of dressage arena, Table Mountain Ranch, 19000 W 58th Ave., Golden. This location is just outside the present definition of Golden s.l. Otherwise, there are no historic or recent collections of this grass made in Golden s.l. (SEINet, 2019). Especially, there were no collections of B. carinatus when the Magic Mountain area was extensively collected by E. H. Brunquist in 1959-1960, nor were there any collections from South Table Mountain when that mesa was collected by Loraine Yeatts in 1983-1984. The closest old collection is an early 20th century collection from Mount Morrison (Bethel & Clokey #3998, 3 Jun 1921: CM234168, IND27631, RM88139 & UTC22795).
  Therefore, I think it is fair to say that the planting of California brome as construction remediation represents introduction of an alien grass to Golden s.l., if not to Colorado. It was not necessary to introduce the alien grass as there are numerous native grasses already growing in the North Washington Open Space that are easy to obtain and grow from seed. These would include Little Bluestem, Blue Grama, Buffalo Grass, Sand Dropseed, Needle and Thread, and Green Needlegrass.

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  dryland pasture mix;  

Bromus inermis Leyss. Smooth Brome

  If I were a dryland cattle rancher, I would plant smooth brome. It greens up early, but can survive periods of drought and extremes in temperature. It is highly palatable and is high in protein content and relatively low in crude-fiber content. It is deep-rooted and spreads by rhizomes in addition to seed. It is compatible with alfalfa or other adapted legumes.
  On the other hand, if I were a prairie restoration ecologist, I would go around shooting dryland cattle ranchers who planted smooth brome.

Literature Cited:
- Global Invasive Species Database, 2019.

Other articles:
• Plainview Road:   near coll loc west;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1660, 16 Jun 2017;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1219, Bromus inermis  

Bromus inermis is a highly competitive C3 grass that forms a dense sod, resulting in smothering and exclusion of other (native) species and decreasing natural biodiversity (ANHP, 2002; Oftinowski et al., 2007). ANHP (2002) writes that \"Smooth brome may inhibit natural succession processes…and [serves as an] alternate host for viral diseases of crops.\" Anemone patens, a long lived native perennial in North American grasslands, is negatively affected by the presence of B. inermis. The thatch left by previous B. inermis growth creates an issue for survival and germination of A. patens seeds (Williams & Crone, 2006). B. inermis has also shown to alter the population dynamics of the dominant native perennial prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata). When B. inermis grows in conjunction with native S. pectinata is known to reduce patch growth, decrease colonization rates and increase extinction rates of the native species (Dillemuth et al., 2009). B. inermis is also known to significantly impact the population dynamics and movement behaviour of several native arthropod species in North American prairies (Baum et al., 2004; Cronin 2003a, b, 2007; Cronin & Haynes 2004; Cronin et al., 2004; Haynes & Cronin 2003).
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 1660, Bromus inermis

Literature Cited:
- Bahm, Matt A., Thomas G. Barnes, and Kent C. Jensen, 2011.  


Literature Cited:
- Sovell, John, Pam Smith, Denise Culver, Susan Panjabi and Joe Stevens, 2012.  

Smooth brome is considered to be an invasive species in at least to other states (MN, OH, IN, IL, KY, TN, NB, WI, ND and MS), by and The Nature Conservancy. In Colorado, smooth brome is available for use in seed mixes used by ranchers, homeowners, and highway departments which is why it is not listed as an invasive species.

The City of Golden designates smooth brome an invasive, non-native grass to avoid for revegetation (Golden, 2019).

Other articles:
• Golden Checklist Flora:  Bromus tectorum;
• Plainview Road:   near coll loc;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1461, 27 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1461, Bromus japonicus  

Bromus japonicus Thumb. Japanese Brome

While B. japonicus and B. tectorum are superficially similar and often found growing together, they are probably not that closely related, as B. japonicus is placed in section Bromus, and B. tectorum in section Genea.

B. japonicus is not a noxious weed in Colorado, whereas B. tectorum is, and is discussed with the noxious weeds above.


Bromus racemosus L. Bald Brome.

The collection of B. racemosus, collected at Heritage Square, has been annotated B, japonicus by Janet Wingate (2019).

Other articles:
• Rubey Drive:   at turn;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1111, 26 May 2015;  Coll. No. 1389, 1 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageSchweich collection of Dactylis glomerata  

Dactylis glomerata Orchard Grass

Orchardgrass was introduced to the eastern United States from Europe in 1760. It is widely planted in the United States and Canada, and is found from Nova Scotia south to the Carolinas, west to central California, and north to coastal British Columbia. It was one of the first grasses I collected in Alameda, California.

There are two collections of Orchard Grass from Golden s. l., both made by the author. In addition, three observations from different locations, show Orchard Grass to be widespread in Golden s. l. Despite its ubiquity, Orchard Grass is not considered a particularly invasive species when compared to other exotic perennial grasses, e.g., Holcus lanatus, Festuca arundinacea, or Phalaris aquatica (or Bromus inermis, I might add).

Often planted for range improvement or revegetation, but considered an invasive, non-native grass to avoid for revegetation (Golden, 2019).


Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv. Barnyard Grass.

Seen at Heritage Square and North and South Table Mountains. Until recently, most collections of Echinochloa were determined E. crus-galli. Then Ackerfield (2015) introduced a new character to examine in her key, i.e., were the setae on sterile lemmas pustular at the base or not? If true, then the grass was more likely E. muricata. Examination of this character led several collections determined E. crus-galli to be annotated to E. muricata.

The basionym for E. crus-galli is Panicum crus-galli L. and occasionally “millet” is included in the common nane for Barnyard Grass.

Other articles:
• Canyon Point Circle:   at t. h.;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1296, 9 Sep 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1296, Echinochloa muricata var. microstachya  

Echinochloa muricata (P. Beauv.) Fernald var. microstachya Wiegand. Rough Barnyard Grass.

Collected in Golden in 1895, more recently on South Table Mountain and at the Nightbird Gulch Trailhead.

Shaw (2008) and Ackerfield (2015) accept var. microstachya, whereas Weber&Wittman (2012) do not.

Other articles:
• Quaker Street:  49300;
Full Size ImageWingate collection of Eragrostis cilianensis  

Eragrostis cilianensis (All.) Vignolo ex Janch. Stinkgrass.

One collection on a disturbed roadside of South Table Mountain. Ten other collections in Jefferson County, often on disturbed ground. I have never seen this grass, but it has a distinctive appearance and should be easy to recognize in the field.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1947, 15 Jun 2018;
Full Size ImageMy collection of Festuca idahoensis
Full Size ImageMy collection of Festuca idahoensis  

Festuca idahoensis Elmer. Idaho Fescue.

The only Golden collections of F. idahoensis, indeed the only collections from Jefferson County, were made in the North Washington Open Space, where it was planted as a revegetation project. Both F. idahoensis and the next F. saximontana are members of the Festuca ovina “complex, a grouping of the fine-leaved, non-rhizomatous Festucas. The City of Golden considers F. ovina to be an invasive non-native grass that is to be avoided for revegetation projects (Golden, 2019).

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1853, 18 May 2018;
Full Size ImageMy collection of Festuca saximontana  

Festuca saximontana Rydb. Rocky Mountain Fescue.

Collected in Golden only at the North Washington Open Space where it was planted as a revegetation grass. Has also been observed in Kinney Run, collection and verification needed.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2087, 17 Jun 2019;
Full Size ImageWingate collection of Hordeum murinum
Full Size ImageCiliate glumes of Coll. No. 2087, Hordeum murinum  

Hordeum murinum L. Mouse Barley.

Seen on North Table Mountain and collected on South Table Mountain; collected by the author at Lippincott Ranch.

Hordeum vulgare L. Common Barley.

Known from only one collection north of Golden. Possibly planted or perhaps fell off the hay truck.

Lagurus ovatus L. Hares Tail Grass.

Known from only one collection, on roadside of 32nd Avenue, near the Rolling Hills Golf Club, south of Golden.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1677, 28 Jun 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1677, Poa compressa  

Poa compressa L. Canada Bluegrass.

Collected on North Table Mountain and Tin Cup Ridge, but probably more common than the number of collections would indicate. Poa compressa is commonly planted to control erosion on disturbed sites such as roadsides, mine reclamation sites, heavy use recreation areas, and for low maintenance landscaping. City of Golden treats it as an invasive, non-native grass to avoid for revegetation (Golden, 2019).

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2057, 4 Jun 2019;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 2057, Poa pratensis  

Poa pratensis L. Kentucky Bluegrass.

(Syn: P. agassizensis B. Boivin & D. Löve) Common around Golden; collected on North and South Table Mountains, the Survey Field, and North Washington Open Space. Often planted for range “improvement.” Invasive, non-native grass to avoid for revegetation (Golden, 2019).

Psathyrostachys juncea (Fisch.) Nevski. Russian wildrye.

Collected in 1983 in a vacant field north end of Golden. Now covered by a housing development.

Other articles:
• Tilting Mesa Trail:   at pond;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1959.2, 21 Jun 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1959.2, Puccinellia distans  

Puccinellia distans (L.) Parl. European Alkali Grass.

Collected on northwest side of pond, sometimes called “Vaca Lake,” on North Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Rubey Drive:   at turn;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1110, 26 May 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1110, Secale cereale  

Secale cereale L. Cereal Rye.

Planted beside Nightbird Gulch and found on South Table Mountain.

Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv. Green Bristlegrass.

Common, and adventive in city gardens, but only collected on South Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1709, 14 Jul 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1709, Thinopyrum intermedium  

Thinopyrum intermedium Intermediate Wheatgrass

(Syn: Elymus hispidus (Opiz) Melderis) Intermediate wheatgrass has been collected or observed in Golden at New Loveland Mine Park, North Table Mountain, North Washington Open Space, and South Table Mountain.

Often planted in a revegetation project. Generally, it is not an invasive plant and coexists well with native plant species. The sources of the various cultivars of Intermediate Wheatgrass are Russia, Turkey, and China.


Thinopyrum ponticum (Podp.) Z.-W. Liu & R.-C. Wang. Rush Wheatgrass.

(Syn: Elymus elongatus (Host) Runemark) Observed, but not collected on North Table Mountain. Planted as a revegetation grass at Rocky Flats (Jody K. Nelson, #640, 7 May 1998, COLO543181).

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2089, 26 Jun 2019;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 2089, Triticum aestivum  

Triticum aestivum L. Wheat.

Found in North Washington Open Space where it was planted, perhaps as a contaminant, as part of a revegetation project following construction on adjacent property.


Non-Native Mustards in the Golden Landscape

  Seventeen taxa in the Brassicaceae are non-native to Golden s.l. Three of them: Hesperis matronalis L. Dame's Rocket, Lepidium draba L. White Top, and L. latifolium L. Broad-Leaved Pepper-Grass, are noxious weeds that are discussed above. The remaining fourteen taxa are discussed below.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 2063.2, 6 June 2019;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 2063.2, Alyssum alyssoides  

Alyssum alyssoides (L.) L. Pale Madwort.

This taxon and the next, A. simplex, are very similar. They are distinguished by whether the sepals are persistent and whether the filaments are winged.

There is only one collection in Golden s.l., from Eagle Ridge, and one observation from North Table Mountain. Presence of A. alyssoides needs confirmation. The author has personally collected it at Lippincott Ranch, northernmost Jefferson County, but nearly all collections around Golden s.l. turn out to be A. simplex.

Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   half-way;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1367, 24 May 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1367, Alyssum simplex  

Alyssum simplex Rudolphi. European Madwort.

(Syn: Alyssum minus Rothm., Alyssum parviflorum Fisch. ex M.Bieb. ) Ubiquitous little weed found everywhere.

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at Deadman Gl;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1818, 16 May 2018;
Full Size ImageHabitat of Coll. No. 1818, Barbarea vulgaris  

Barbarea vulgaris R. Br. Garden Yellowrocket.

Common weed of wet places, or in streams, Kinney Run, North and South Table Mountains, and CSM Survey Field.

Other articles:
• Tucker Gulch Trail:   near shelter;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1056;

Locations: Tucker Gulch (lower).
Full Size ImageHabitat of Berteroa incana  

Berteroa incana (L.) DC. Hoary Alyssum.

Collected in Tucker Gulch and Apex Gulch in 2019. Not collected in Apex Gulch in 1959-1960 by Ernest H. Brunquist, so it may be a recent introduction there. Weber & Wittmann (2012) say, “abundant in meadows of the Front Range valleys and expected to spread throughout the middle altitudes.” Recently collected by the author in the Buffalo Creek Recreation, filling in the plant’s range in southern Jefferson County.
Full Size Image
Coll. No. 1056, Berteroa incana

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1876, 24 May 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1876, Camelina microcarpa  

Camelina microcarpa Andrz. Ex DC. Little-Podded False Flax.

Common little weed world-wide, including all Golden s.l. open spaces.

Other articles:
• Tucker Gulch Trail:   at shelter;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1336, 11 May 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1336, Capsella bursa-pastoris  

Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. Shepherd's Purse.

Another common little weed world-wide, but for some reason has only been collected at Tucker Gulch in Golden s.l.

Other articles:
• Neighborhood Access Trail:   near trailhead;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1308;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1308, Chorispora tenella  

Chorispora tenella (Pall.) DC. Crossflower.

Common weedy plants of disturbed areas, found mostly everywhere, though often an early spring wildflower.

Other articles:
• Forest Road 01N106A:   s. of Bohler Ck.;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 935;

Locations: Bohler Canyon.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 935, Descurainia sophia  

Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb. Tansy Mustard.

Eagle Ridge and North Table Mountain, probably under collected.

Other articles:
• Kinney Run Trail:   at Deadman Gl;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1821, 12 May 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1821, Draba nemorosa  

Draba nemorosa L. Woodland Whitlow Grass.

Colorado authors disagree whether this plant is native or non-native. Regardless, it is found in Kinney Run, Heritage Square, and South Table Mountain.

Erysimum cheiranthoides L. Wormseed Wallflower.

I have not seen this and there is one collection from North Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1413, 10 Jun 2016;   Coll. No. 1607, 13 May 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1413, Lepidium campestre
Full Size ImageFruit of Coll. No. 1607, Lepidium campestre  

Lepidium campestre (L.) W. T. Aiton. Field Pepperweed.

Two collections in the Survey Field, not quite as noxious as L. draba.

Other articles:
• Mesa Spur Trail:   along trail;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1808, 10 May 2018;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1808, Lepidium perfoliatum  

Lepidium perfoliatum L. Clasping Pepperweed.

One collection in the road north side of North Table Mountain between the horse ranches. My other collection is from central Nevada.

Sisymbrium altissimum L. Tall Tumblemustard.

North and South Table Mountains, North Washington Open Space and Heritage Square.

Sisymbrium loeselii L. Loesel's Tumble Mustard.

One observation from North Table Mountain, needs verification.

Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   half-way;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1365, 24 May 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1365, Thlaspi arvense  

Thlaspi arvense L. Field Penny Cress.

Common on North and South Table Mountain, Kinney Run, Survey Field, and North Washington Open Space, usually in wetter places.


Non-Native Sunflowers in the Golden Landscape

  There are 17 non-native plants in the Sunflower family (Asteraceae) that have been collected in Golden. Seven of those are Colorado listed noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are discussed as a group above. They are.

  • Noxious Weed List B
    • Acroptilon repens (L.) DC. Russian Knapweed.
    • Carduus nutans L. Nodding Plumeless Thistle.
    • Centaurea diffusa Lam. White Knapweed.
    • Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. Canada Thistle.
  • Noxious Weed List C
    • Arctium minus Bernh. Lesser Burdock.
    • Cichorium intybus L. Chicory.
  • Noxious Weed Watch List
    • Carthamus lanatus L. Wooly Distaff Thistle.
  There are ten non-native species of Asteraceae that are not listed noxious weeds.

Full Size ImageRatzloff collection of Conyza canadensis in Golden.  

Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist. Canadian Horseweed.

(Syn: Erigeron canadensis (L.) Cronquist ) A common adventive garden weed, though often overlooked when collecting because of its ubiquity and unassuming appearance.

Galinsoga parviflora Cav. Gallant Soldier.

Collected once in downtown Golden. Status unknown.

Gnaphalium uliginosum L. Marsh Cudweed.

Collected once on South Table Mountain.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1749, 31 Aug 2017;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1749, Lactuca serriola  

Lactuca serriola L. Prickly Lettuce.

Common adventive weed in open spaces and gardens.

Onopordum acanthium L. Scotch Cottonthistle.

Observed, confirmation by collection needed.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 1399, 8 Jun 2016;
Full Size ImageSchweich collection of Scorzonera laciniata  

Scorzonera laciniata L. Cutleaf Vipergrass.

(Syn: Podospermum laciniatum (L.) De Candolle ) Common in open spaces, adventive in gardens, often confused with Tragopogon dubius.

Sonchus asper (L.) Hill. Spiny Sowthistle.

One collection in downtown alley. Needs confirming collections.

Taraxacum officinale F. H. Wigg. Common Dandelion.

(Syn: T. laevigatum (Willd.) DC., although Ackerfield (2015) treats this as a separate species.) Common everywhere, often overlooked for collection, e.g., not collected by Brunquist at Magic Mountain, but very likely it was there.

Other articles:
• Plainview Road:   near coll loc;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1115, 28 May 2015;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1115, Tragopogon dubius  

Tragopogon dubius Scop. Yellow Salsify.

Common in open spaces, adventive in gardens, ubiquitous. On field trips this is a good plant to discuss the function of pappus and describe what is meant by a “beak.”

Other articles:
• North Table Loop:   near horse pasture;
• Field Notes:  Coll. No. 1539, 18 Aug 2016;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 1539, Verbesina encelioides  

Verbesina encelioides (Cav.) Benth. & Hook. F. ex A. Gray. Cowpen Daisy.

(Syn: Ximenesia encelioides Cav. ) Waste places, unclear if uncommon, or under-collected. Collected on South Table Mountain, and on North Table Mountain on the fenceline of a horse pen.

Xanthium strumarium L. Common Cocklebur.

Three collections, possibly under-collected, better data needed.


Other Families

  There are nine plant families that are represented only by non-native taxa, and many of them are listed noxious weeds. Fortunately, there are only one or two taxa from each of those families. The families are:

  • Adoxaceae, one species: Sambucus canadensis L. American Black Elderberry.
  • Dipsacaceae, two species: Dipsacus fullonum L. Fuller's Teasel and Dipsacus laciniatus L. Cutleaf Teasel, both List B noxious weeds.
  • Elaeagnaceae, one species: Elaeagnus angustifolia L. Russian Olive, a List B noxious weed.
  • Hypericaceae, one species: Hypericum perforatum L. Common St. John's Wort, a List C noxious weed.
  • Lythraceae, one taxon, Lythrum salicaria L. Purple Loosestrife, a listed noxious weed in some states, such as Washington, but not in Colorado.
  • Oleaceae, two species: Fraxinus americana L. White Ash, and Ligustrum vulgare L. Privet, neither of which as noxious weeds. The privet is likely a recent introduction to the Magic Mountain area.
  • Oxalidaceae, one species, Oxalis stricta L. Common Yellow Oxalis, listed as a noxious weed in some states but not Colorado.
  • Ulmaceae, two species, Ulmus parvifolia Jacq. Chinese Elm, not listed, and Ulmus pumila L. Siberian Elm, a watch list plant in Colorado.
  • Zygophyllaceae, one species: Tribulus terrestris L. Puncture Vine, List C noxious weed species.





  This paper describes the flora found in the City of Golden s.l. in a narrow slice of time, roughly 2014 through 2019. Some of the data can be projected backwards because nearly all collections are dated. From historic collections and old photographs, we can reasonably estimate the original vegetation and composition of the flora. The introduction of non-native taxa tells a story of human history as much as biological history.
  We can also make some projections into the future. Most of the available land in Golden is built upon, permanently destroying the flora. The city-owned small pieces that are left are miniscule relative to county-owned open spaces. They are attractive for recreational use and subject to being chopped up into finer and finer pieces.
  Obviously, the author has a bias toward more preservation and less usage. Ultimately, though, the citizens of Golden will make those decisions. Perhaps, by this document, such decisions can be well-informed about the plant life in our city.





  Many people have been helpful to me in preparing this checklist flora. My first contact in Golden was with Lisa and Sean Klusner at Jefferson County Open Space. They not only supported my request to collect on North Table Mountain, but also in most parks, especially Ranson/Edwards. Over the years, Alicia Doran has supported my work and been my primary contact at Jefferson County Open Space. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Irene Weber and Anthony Massaro in the field and comparing notes. I met Loraine and Dick Yeatts though Colorado Native Plant Society. One time they rode their bicycles all the way to north Golden to loan me a packet of materials Loraine had saved. I also met Melissa Islam then at Denver Botanic Garden through CoNPS. She paved the way at the garden and introduced me to Janet Wingate, who kindly looks through my grass collections each year. Rod Tarullo is my contact with the City of Golden and issues a collection permit with a fine “Howdy, Howdy.” Gary Bowersock issued the first collecting permit for the Colorado School of Mines Survey Field and has passed the baton to Sam Crispin.
  Finally, I acknowledge Cheryl Schweich, my wife, who watched me head out to the field in the morning and then spend all afternoon and evening hunched over a microscope and computer.
  To all these people, I am grateful for their assistance – sometimes tolerance – that made this work possible.
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Date and time this article was prepared: 7/12/2020 6:05:57 PM