Botany Field Trip at the Price Field Office, May 13, 2023

Landscape in the Price Field Office area.

A beautiful, spring desert day welcomed Price Field Office Botanist, DaShell Burnham, as she led BLM staffers and members of the Utah Native Plant Society on a field trip through the San Rafael Swell, Utah. This desert is home to the endangered San Rafael cactus and the threatened Jones cycladenia. The purpose of the field trip was to take participants to see both species and discuss ongoing conservation efforts by the BLM to ensure their survival by monitoring and protecting these two rare and unique plants and their habitat.

Botanists looking at plants in Price Field Office area.

Both plants are endemic (native) species to Utah. The San Rafael cactus is a small, oblong-shaped cactus that is found only in a few isolated locations in the San Rafael Swell, Utah. The Jones cycladenia is a small, flowering plant in the dog-bane family that is found only in three locations in Utah, with a historic range reaching into Arizona. Both plants are threatened by habitat disturbance, habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as competition from invasive plant species.

Plant found in Price Field Office area.

The field trip participants had the opportunity to witness firsthand the unique habitat where the San Rafael Cactus and Jones cycladenia thrive. DaShell Burnham guided the group on walks through occupied habitat, pointing out key features of the plant species' habitats and explaining the history and importance of these species within their ecosystem.

Landscape with plants in Price Field Office area.

One of the positive aspects highlighted during the field trip, was the impact of recent weather conditions on the propagation of these endangered and threatened plant species. It was reported that a very wet winter followed by good spring precipitation has provided favorable conditions for their growth and reproduction. This natural phenomenon has significantly contributed to the ebb and flow of population numbers, responses to changes in environmental conditions, and how habitat management and conservation efforts can lead to a hopeful future for these species.

Botanists looking at plant life in Price Field Office area.

A key message for all visitors to our public lands, if you find a beautiful or interesting plant, leave it be. Plants are a critical part of an entire ecosystem. If you see these plants, please do not disturb them. Instead, take a moment to appreciate their beauty and rarity. Document it with a photograph or a sketch.

Sensitive plant species found in Price Field Office area.

To learn more about the San Rafael cactus and the Jones cycladenia, and other sensitive plant species please visit the BLM website at,the%20species%20as%20Bureau%20Sensitive.

Snake slithering in dirt.













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