Hart Prairie



Lupinus argenteus


Hymenoxys hoopesii


Penstemon barbatus


Gentiana affinis



Coordinating Botanists:   Max Licher & Gisela Kluwin


Status:  In Progress


Started:  2009


Taxa List






Hart Prairie is one of the larger high mountain meadows on the west flank of the San Francisco Peaks, northwest of Flagstaff. It is surrounded by aspen forest, with mixed conifer on the steeper slopes above. Several springs and a seasonal stream support a Mountain Wetland plant community running through the meadow, including the southernmost and driest large stand of Bebb Willows (Salix bebbiana) in North America. The Nature Conservancy manages a 245 acre preserve in the heart of the meadow, which is accessed via USFS Rd. #151, north off of Highway 180 as it heads northwest from Flagstaff.  The study area has been expanded beyond the TNC preserve to include most of the surrounding USFS lands between Rd. # 151 on the west and the wilderness area boundary (Arizona Trail) on the east, including both Fern Mountain and Bismarck Lake.  TNC is working on a cooperative joint management plan with the surrounding Coconino National Forest to restore natural processes in Hart Prairie, with the aim to reverse historical human impacts and increase overall forest health.  Hiking is relatively easy throughout much of the gentle terrain. With the exception of a few trails and dirt roads, much of the exploration is cross-country.


A working list based on long time observations by USFS & TNC botanists contains 282 species of vascular plants, of which 244 have been documented with voucher collections to date. Approximately 40 additional species have been eliminated from the old lists, due to either corrected identifications, or a better understanding of their range within the region. The project is substantially completed, as efforts in the last few years have added few needed collections. However, sporadic work will be ongoing in the eastern and northern sections of the expanded area, targeting the few remaining taxa suspected to be present.