by Bernadette Kuhn, CNHP Botanist
A few months ago, CNHP joined forces with botanists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mosquito Range Natural Heritage Initiative to survey for rare plant in the Leadville area. The conditions were perfect. Despite a few threatening clouds, we had a bluebird survey day. After four hours of crawling through the alpine, we found what we were looking for. The tiny plant, Eutrema penlandii, is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae). Listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act, it is found primarily in wetlands and alpine fens above treeline.
Very few populations of E. penlandii have been mapped on the west side of the Continental Divide. Our findings suggest more surveys on this side of the Divide may result in a range expansion for this narrowly distributed Colorado endemic.