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A floristic analysis and comparison of plant communities in Harlan County, Nebraska.

Historically, the Republican River Valley in Harlan County, Nebraska, has been extensively explored, but the county flora has continually been under-represented and has been found to lack records for plants that are considered common. During the 2009 growing season, a taxonomic study and comparison of 3 different sites in Harlan County was made. Site #1 was pastureland and Sites #2 and #3 were both riparian, located on the north side of the Republican River. Collections were pressed, dried, identified, and deposited in the University of Nebraska at Kearney Herbarium (NEBK). Forty-eight new county records were verified, including cutleaf-cucumber (Cyclanthera dissecta), a Tier 2 species listed by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Program. The species composition of three sites were compared using both Jaccard's ([IS.sub.J]) and Sorensen's ([IS.sub.S]) indices of similarity which are based on the species in common to two given sites and species that are exclusive to each site. According to Sorensen Index values, the two riparian sites (Sites #2 and #3) had the greatest percent similarity ([IS.sub.S] = 56.6%), followed by Sites #1 and #3 ([IS.sub.S] = 51.9%) and Sites #1 and #2 ([IS.sub.S] = 47.2%). Using Jaccard's index of similarity, separation among the sites was not as apparent. The floristic quality indices (FQI) for Sites #1, #2, and #3 (25.08,12.07, and 22.96 respectively) were somewhat low when compared to FQI values from previous studies in the Loup River Valley of Nebraska. This study helps to document the current plant diversity of the area and updates the known flora of Harlan County, which now totals 395 species.

Key words: Harlan County flora, mixed-grass prairie, Republican River, floristic analysis


South-central Nebraska played a major role in the early botanical history of Nebraska. The Spanish traversed this region, the traditional home of the Pawnee Tribe, as early as 1540-1542 when Coronado reached central Kansas. In 1820, the Long Expedition, with botanist Edwin James, made notable records from south-central Nebraska following the big bend of the Platte River. The Wyeth Expedition of 1834 with Thomas Nuttall also passed just to the north of the Republican River Valley and contributed many additional records to the region's flora. The J.C. Fremont expedition was next and moved through parts of the Republican Valley in 1843. Although numerous important plant collections were made, the total number of reported species was far below the number of plants that presently constitute the region's known flora. Therefore, the objective of this study was to provide additions to the flora of Harlan, County, Nebraska, from surveys of three different plant communities. These included (1) upland, grazed prairie; (2) lowland riparian forest; and (3) lowland, riparian forest/riverbank communities. Initially, this project was designed to survey only natural, undisturbed sites. However, the best available upland prairie site selected for our study was subjected to seasonal grazing, and much of the riparian community had signs of exposure to limited human activity.

Harlan County, Nebraska (Figure 1), is located in south central Nebraska and has a total area of 143,547 Ha (554 [mi.sup.2]). Of this total, 5587 Ha are occupied by Harlan County Reservoir, resulting in a land area of 137,960 Ha (~532 [mi.sup.2]) for Harlan County (Mitchell et al. 1974). With the exception of the northeastern comer, which is nearly level, approximately 90% of the county occurs in the Republican River drainage, which runs west to east, just north of the Kansas-Nebraska state line. The presettlement vegetation was mostly mixed-grass prairie accented by scattered patches of riparian forest along the river and several spring-fed tributaries. Most of the remaining prairie is either grazed by cattle or has been converted to irrigated farmland. The river valley provides riparian communities, sand bars, riverbank sites, and occasional wetlands, which enhance the potential flora of the area. In addition to the Republican River Valley, the county's uplands are described as Dissected Plains with the amount of natural vegetation estimated at 15% (Kaul et al. 2011).

As a result of the sod-busting era (-1862 into the early 20th century), much of the original mixed-grass prairie bordering the valley has been converted to cropland (Kaul et al. 2011). This has provided increased opportunities for introduced, invasive, and weedy plant species to become established in the area and has added additional, but undesirable, diversity to the region's flora.

Historically, the Harlan County flora of ~347 species, has been under-reported as compared to other counties in the region. For example, Webster County, ~40 km to the east, has a minimum flora of 604 species, and Kearney County to the northeast has a reported 586 species (Kaul and Rolfsmeier 1994; Kaul et al. 2011, Kaul and Simpson 2012). In a ranking of Nebraska's 93 counties based on each county's total flora, Harlan County originally was rated 61st (Kaul and Rolfsmeier 1994).

Over the last several decades, Harlan County has experienced environmental extremes that have affected the flora. The Republican River Basin includes parts of southwest and south central Nebraska, northeastern Colorado, and northwestern Kansas. It differs from the Platte and other western river basins because its flows rely totally on groundwater (springs) and precipitation, in contrast to the snow pack in the Rocky Mountains that feeds the Platte River headwaters. Historically, fluctuations in climate have been common, with periodic drought followed by years of above-normal precipitation. It is not unusual for daily summer temperatures in the area to exceed 38[degrees] C accompanied by periods of little or no measurable precipitation. The region was greatly affected by the Great Drought of the 1930's (Figure 2) being on the northern edge of the Dust Bowl. The drought was punctuated by Black Sunday (14 April 1935) when winds and powder-dry soil created one of the largest dust storms ever reported, suffocating people and livestock. Later that same season (30 May 1935), torrential rains in the upper part of the Republican River Basin resulted in a record flood that swept down the valley and took ~113 lives. Consequently, the vegetation has undergone several shifts in species composition in fewer than 100 years.

The present day flora reflects an increase in plant species mainly as a result of invasive species and introductions that take advantage of disturbances caused by cultivation and grazing. Irrigation has mitigated the effects of periodic drought, allowing some species to persist that otherwise would not have survived. The Republican River Valley does provide habitat and the opportunity for less adaptable plant species to inhabit an area that is known for climatic extremes and wide fluctuations in temperature and precipitation.

Material and Methods

Plants were collected at three contrasting sites in Harlan County (Figure 1; Table 1) throughout the 2009 growing season as late as 9 October to insure the inclusion of early and late season species. Plants were collected to help determine the overall diversity of the county, as well as to identify any rare or previously unrecorded species for the county. All collections were pressed and dried using a standard plant press and were deposited in the University of Nebraska at Kearney Herbarium (NEBK). Nomenclature follows the Flora of Nebraska 2nd ed. (Kaul et al. 2011). In addition to the Flora of Nebraska, field guides by Farrar (2011), Johnson and Larson (1999), and Owensby (1980) were used to assist in plant identification. A species checklist of vascular plants collected at the three sites was made and new county records were designated (Appendix 1).

Jaccard's Index of Similarity (ISj) was used to assess differences/similarities among the three sites.

[IS.sub.j] = c/(a + b + c) x 100

where "c" is the number of common species, "a" is the number of species unique to site #1, and "b" is the number of species unique to site #2. For comparison, it was useful to apply another similarity test, Sorensen's Index of Similarity (ISs),

[IS.sub.s] = 2c/a + b x 100,

where c = the number of species common to the two sites, a = the total number of species at a given site and b = the total number of species at the other site in the comparison. Coefficient of Conservatism (C) values as determined for Nebraska by Rolfsmeier and Steinauer (2003) were assigned to all native species in the study. A mean C value (Cm), and a Floristic Quality Index (FQI) were calculated for each of the three sites. The FQI serves as a point of comparison to other floristic studies and was determined using the equation

FQI = Cm x [square root of n],

where n = the total number of native species recorded at a study site (Mushet et al. 2002).

Results and Discussion

Although the 3 sites were not exceptionally diverse and each had been subjected to a degree of disturbance, a total of 48 new records for Harlan County were made, increasing the total flora to ~ 395 species of vascular plants (Appendix). Most are common throughout central Nebraska, but were not previously reported for Harlan County. One Tier 2 species listed by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, cut-leaf cucumber (Cyclanthera dissecta), was recorded at Site #2, a riparian area on the north side of the Republican River. Cut-leaf cucumber is known only from Harlan, Furnas, and Red Willow Counties in Nebraska but is likely more widely distributed in the Republican River Valley.

Dominant woody species in the riparian sites (#2 and #3) include plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), box elder (Acer negundo) and northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa). The understory consists of a mixture of herbaceous species, such as motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) and poke weed (Phytolacca americana), along with shrubs and vines that are not subjected to continual inundation. River bank and sandbar habitats differ floristically, and support a number of opportunistic species, such as umbrella sedge (Cyperus odoratus), water speedwell (Veronica anagallis aquation), reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), numerous sedges (Carex spp.) and rushes (Juncus spp.) that quickly colonize newly exposed substrate.

When we applied Jaccard's Index of Similarity (ISj), our results were somewhat surprising (Table 2). The most similar sites were #1 and #3 (ISj = 40.0%) but this was essentially equal to the ISj value of the two riparian sites (#2 and #3) which = 39.9%. Sites #1 and #2 were the most dissimilar (ISj = 31.3%). Sorensen's Index of Similarity was also used because it gives greater weight than Jaccard's to the species that recur in the two test areas than to those that are unique to either area (Mueller-Dombois and Ellenberg 1974). Based on ISs values, Sites #2 and #3 were the most similar (ISs = 56.6%), followed by Sites #1 and #3 (ISs = 51.9%), and Sites #1 and #2 (ISs = 47.2%) (Table 2).

Comparing the two methods, the results also indicate that there is not a great degree of separation or variability within the similarity values that were calculated. One explanation might be that the upland, grazed prairie (Site #1) does include a canyon and drainage area that seasonally contains standing water. A representative number of plant species that colonize this area are the same as those that occupy riverbank and sandbar communities (Sites #2 and #3).

A coefficient of conservatism value (C) as originally developed by Swink and Wilhelm (1979, 1994) was assigned to each native species in this study. We used values for Nebraska vascular plants as designated by Rolfsmeier and Steinauer (2003). These values rank native species in a given region on a scale of 0 to 10 and higher numbers give greater importance to native, endemic species that are limited to a narrow range of environmental characteristics. Low C values are assigned to plants that are highly reproductive and are adapted to a variety of habitats. By calculating an average or mean C for an area, this value can be used to assess the quality of vegetation present, or it may be incorporated into a Floristic Quality Index (FQI) for comparison to other sites in the region. Individually, the sites have relatively low Cm and FQI values. For Sites 1, 2, and 3, respectively, Cm values were 2.56,1.82, and 2.23 and FQI values were 25.08, 12.07, and 22.96. As expected, Site #1, consisting of mixed-prairie and a seasonal wetland is the most diverse.

These values are low in comparison to recent studies that were completed in other river valleys of central Nebraska. In a plant survey of a Loup River meadow, Veloso and Rothenberger (2008) reported a mean C of 4.14 and a FQI of 64.4. Rothenberger et al. (2010) reported a mean C of 3.73 and an FQI of 50.7 resulting from a similar study of a South Loup River meadow. Although these findings are indicative of the higher species richness and floristic quality of the Loup River Valley, this study contributes significantly to the known flora of Harlan County.


The botanical diversity of Harlan County is mainly a result of the combination of upland mixed-grass prairie and the riparian/ riverbank communities associated with the Republican River Valley that dominate the county's flora. Other plant communities of significance are the wooded uplands that extend west-east along the south side of the river, scattered wetlands, and the vegetation that borders small tributaries of the river. The Republican River Valley separates mixed-grass prairie species with both northern and southern affinities. Several species reported on limestone outcrops in Franklin and Webster Counties, such as Fendler's aster (Aster fendleri), Fremont's leather-flower (Clematis fremontii), and Fremont's evening-primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. fremontii), reach the northern edge of their range here. Therefore, additional study of prairies south of the river is recommended and the above species should be targeted. While the flora of Harlan County remains under-studied, 48 newly discovered species were collected confirming the botanical importance and significance of Harlan County.

Appendix 1. A Species Checklist for Harlan County Study Sites.
(R = new county record; * = nonnative species)

Scientific Name                        Common Name

Abutilon theophrasti Medikus           velvet-leaf
Acer negundo L.                        box-elder
Agrostis stolonifera L.                redtop
Achillea millefolium L.                common yarrow
Amaranthus retroflexus L.              redroot pigweed
Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.             common ragweed
Ambrosia psilostachya DC.              western ragweed
Ambrosia trifida L.                    giant ragweed
Ammannia robusta Heer & Regel          toothcup
Amorpha fruticosa L.                   false indigo
Antennaria neglecta Greene             pussytoes
Apocynum cannabinum L.                 Indian hemp dogbane
Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh.            common burdock
Argemone polyanthemos (Fedde)          prickly poppy
  G. Ownbey
Aristida purpurea Nutt.                purple three-awn
Asclepias incamata L.                  swamp milkweed
Asclepias pumila (A. Gray) Vail        plains milkweed
Asclepias syriaca L.                   common milkweed
Astragalus crassicarpus Nutt.          ground-plum
Astragalus mollissimus Torr.           wooly locoweed
Aster ericoides L. ssp. ericoides      heath aster
Aster oblongifolius Nutt.              aromatic aster
Aster lanceolatus Willd. subsp.        willowleaf aster
Bidens cernua L.                       bur-marigold
Bidens comosa (A.Gray) Wegand          beggar-ticks
Bidens frondosa L.                     devil's pitchfork
Bolboschoenus fluviatilis (Torr.)      river bulrush
Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.)        side-oats grama
Bouteloua gracilis (Kunth) Lag. Ex     blue grama
Brickellia eupatorioides (L.)          false boneset
  Shinners var. corymbulosa
  (Tory. & A. Gray) Shinners
Bromus inermis Leyss. subsp. inermis   smooth brome
Bromusjaponicus Thunb. ex Murr.        Japanese brome
Bromus tectorum L.                     downy brome
Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.    buffalo grass
Callirhoe involucrata                  purple poppy mallow
  (Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray
Calystegia sepium (L.) R.Br. var.      hedge bindweed
  angulata (Brummitt) N.H. Holmgren
Cannabis sativa L.                     hemp
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.    shepherd's purse
Carduus nutans L.                      musk thistle
Carex blanda C. Dewey                  common wood sedge
Carex brevior (C. Dewey) Mack. Ex      fescue sedge
Carex gravida L.H. Bailey              heavy-fruit sedge
Carex laeviconica C. Dewey             smooth-cone sedge
Carex praegracilis W. Boott            clustered field sedge
Catalpa speciosa (L.) Bureau           northern catalpa
Celtis occidentalis L.                 hackberry
Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fernald   sandbur
Chenopodium berlandieri Moq.           pitseed goosefoot
Chenopodium simplex (Torr.) Raf.       maple-leaf goosefoot
Chloris verticillata Nutt.             windmill grass
Cirsium altissimum (L.) Spreng.        tall thistle
Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng.      wavy-leaf thistle
Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore          bull thistle
Conium maculatum L.                    poison-hemlock
Convolvulus arvensis L.                field bindweed
Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist       horseweed
Comus drummondii C.A. Mey.             rough-leaved dogwood
Croton texensis (Klotzsch) Mull.       Texas croton
Cyclanthera dissecta (Torr. &          cutleaf-cucumber
  A. Gray) Am.
Cyclachaena xanthiifolia Fresen.       big marsh-elder
Cyperus odoratus L.                    rusty flatsedge
Cyperus squarrosus L.                  square flatsedge
Delphinium virescens Nutt.             prairie larkspur
Descurainia pinnata (Walter) Britton   tansy mustard
Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex        tansy mustard
Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.)        Illinois bundleflower
  MacMillan ex B.L. Robinson
Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.           Canada tickclover
Digitaria cognata (Schult.) Pilg.      fall witchgrass
Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.       hairy crabgrass
Dyssodiapapposa(Vent.)A.S.Hitchc.      fetid-marigold
Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.         barnyard grass
Echinocystis lobata (Michx.) Torr.     wild-cucumber
  & A.Gray
Eclipta prostrata (L.) L.              yerba de tajo
Elaeagnus angustifolia L.              Russian olive
Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. &      spike-rush
Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.           goosegrass
Ellisia nyctelea (L.) L.               waterpod
Elymus canadensis L.                   Canada wild-rye
Elymus repens (L.) Gould               quackgrass
Elymus smithii (Rydb.) Gould           western wheatgrass
Elymus virginicus L.                   Virginia wild-rye
Eragrostis cilianensis (All.)          stinkgrass
  Vignolo ex Janch.
Eragrostispectinacea (Michx.) Nees     Carolina lovegrass
Erigeron strigosus Muhl. ex Wlld.      prairie fleabane
Euphorbia davidii Subils               toothed spurge
Euphorbia glyptosperma Engelm.         ridge-seed spurge
Euphorbia marginata Pursh              snow-on-the-mountain
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall        green ash
Gaura coccinea Nutt. ex Pursh          scarlet gaura
Gaura parviflora Dougl. ex Lehm.       velvety gaura
Gleditsia triacanthos L.               honey-locust
Hackelia virginiana (L.) I.M.          stickseed
Hedeoma hispida Pursh                  rough false pennyroyal
Helianthus annuus L.                   common sunflower
Helianthus maximiliani Schrad.         Maximilian sunflower
Hesperis matronalis L.                 dame's-rocket
Hordeumjubatum L.                      foxtail barley
Hordeum pusillum Nutt.                 little barley
Juniperus virginiana L.                red cedar
Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.           kochia
Lactuca serriola L.                    prickly lettuce
Lactuca canadensis L.                  wild lettuce
Lappula redowskii (Homem.) Greene      cupseed
  var. cupulata (A.Gray) M.E. Jones
Leonurus cardiaca L.                   motherwort
Lepidium densiflorum Schrader          pepper-grass
Leptochloa fusca (L.) Kunth subsp.     sprangle-top
  fascicularis (Lam.) N. Snow
Liatris punctata Hook.                 gayfeather
Lindemia dubia (L.) Pennell            false pimpernel
Linum sulcatum Riddell                 grooved flax
Lippia lanceolata Michx.               fogfruit
Lithospermum incisum Lehm.             fringed puccoon
Lygodesmiajuncea (Pursh) D. Don ex     skeleton weed
Malva neglecta Wallr.                  common mallow
Medicago lupulina L.                   black medic
Medicago sativa L. subsp. sativa       alfalfa
Mentha canadensis L.                   field mint
Melilotus albus Medikus.               white sweet clover
Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pallas      yellow sweet clover
Mentzelia decapetala                   ten-petal stickleaf
  (Pursh ex Sims) Urban
Mimosa quadrivalvis L. var.            sensitive brier
  nuttallii (DC. ex Standl.)
  Beard ex Barneby
Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.)          common four-o'clock
Morus alba L.                          white mulberry
Muhlenbergia mexicana (L.) Trin.       wirestem muhly
Muhlenbergia racemosa (Michx.)         marsh muhly
  Britton, Sterns, & Poggenb.
Nasturtium officinale WT Aiton         water cress
Nepeta cataria L.                      catnip
Oenothera biennis L.                   common evening primrose
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf.           bigroot prickly-pear
Oxalis dillenii Jacq.                  gray oxalis
Oxytropis lambertii Pursh              purple locoweed
Panicum capillare L.                   witchgrass
Panicum dichotomiflorum Michx.         fall panicum
Panicum oligosanthes Schult. var.      Scribner panicum
  scribnerianum (Nosh) Fernald
Panicum virgatum L.                    switchgrass
Parthenocissus vitacea (Knerr)         woodbine
  A. Hitchc.
Pediomelum digitatum (Nutt. Ex         palm-leaf scurfpea
  Torr. & A.Gray) Isely
Phalaris arundinacea L.                reed canarygrass
Physalis heterophylla Nees             clammy ground cherry
Physalis longifolia Nutt.              common ground-cherry
Phytolacca americana L.                pokeweed
Plantago patagonica Jacq.              wooly plantain
Poa pratensis L.                       Kentucky bluegrass
Polygonum aviculare L. subsp.          knotweed
  depressum (Meissn.) Arcang.
Polygonum bicome Raf.                  pink smartweed
Polygonum lapathifolium L.             pale smartweed
Polygonum pensylvanicum L.             Pennsylvania smartweed
Polygonum persicaria L.                lady's thumb
Polygonum scandens L.                  climbing false buckwheat
Populus deltoides Bartr. Ex            Plains cottonwood
  Marsh.subsp. monilifera (Aiton)
Prunus virginiana L.                   choke cherry
Psoralidium tenuiflorum (Pursh)        slender-flowered scurf-pea
Ranunculus sceleratus L. var.          cursed crowfoot
Rhus glabra L.                         smooth sumac
Ribes missouriense Nutt.               Missouri gooseberry
Ribes odoratum H.L. Wend].             buffalo currant
Rorippa palustris (L.) Bess. var.      bog yellow cress
  glabra (O.E. Schulz) Roy L.
  Taylor & MacBryde
Rosa woodsii Lindl.                    western wild rose
Rudbeckia hirta L. var. pulcherrima    black-eyed susan
Rumex altissimus A.W. Wood             pale dock
Rumex crispus L.                       curly dock
Salix amygdaloides N.J. Andersson      peach-leaf willow
Salix exigua Nutt. subsp. Interior     coyote willow
  (Rowlee) Cronquist
Salsola tragus L.                      Russian thistle
Salvia reflexa Homem.                  Rocky Mountain sage
Sambucus canadensis L.                 elderberry
Schizachyrium scopanium (Michx.)       little bluestem
Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm.           Chinese foxtail
Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. &         yellow foxtail
Setaria verticillata (L.) P.Beauv.     bristly foxtail
Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv.         green foxtail
Sicyos angulatus L.                    bur-cucumber
Sisymbrium loeselii L.                 tall hedge mustard
Solanum carolinense L.                 Carolina nightshade
Solanum interius Rydb.                 plains black nightshade
Solanum rostratum Dunal                buffalo-bur
Solidago canadensss L.                 Canada goldenrod
Solidago gigantea Aiton                late goldenrod
Solidago missouriensis Nutt.           Missouri goldenrod
Sonchus asper (L.) Hill                prickly sow-thistle
Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash           Indian grass
Spartina pectinata Link                prairie cordgrass
Sporobolus compositus (Poir.) Merr.    rough dropseed
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A.      sand dropseed
Stipa viridula Trin.                   green needle grass
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus Moench      coralberry
Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg.        common dandelion
Teucrium canadense L. var.             American germander
  occidentale (A.Gray) McClint.&
Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.)    greenthread
Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze     poison ivy
  var. rydbergii (J.K. Small ex
  Rydb.) Erskine
Tragopogon dubius Scop.                goatsbeard
Tribulus terrestris L.                 puncture-vine
Tridens flavus (L.) A.S. Hitchc.       purpletop
Ulmus americana L.                     American elm
Ulmus pumila L.                        Siberian elm
Urtica dioica L. subsp. Gracilis       stinging nettle
  (Aiton) Selander
Verbascum thapsus L.                   mullein
Verbena bipinnatifida Nutt.            fernleaf vervain
Verbena bracteata Lag. & J.D.          prostrate vervain
Verbena hastata L.                     blue vervain
Verbena stricta Vent.                  hoary vervain
Verbena urticifolia L.                 white vervain
Vemonia baldwinii Torr.                western ironweed
Veronica anagallis-aquatica L.         water speedwell
Vitis riparia Michx.                   river-bank grape
Vulpia octoflora (Walter) Rydb.        sixweeks-fescue
Xanthium strumarium L. var.            cocklebur
  canadense (P. Mill.) Torr. &
  A. Gray

                                            Site       New
Scientific Name                        1    2    3    record   C-value

Abutilon theophrasti Medikus           X         X                *
Acer negundo L.                        X    X    X                3
Agrostis stolonifera L.                          X                *
Achillea millefolium L.                X                          2
Amaranthus retroflexus L.              X         X                0
Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.             X         X      R         0
Ambrosia psilostachya DC.              X         X                1
Ambrosia trifida L.                    X    X    X                0
Ammannia robusta Heer & Regel                    X                4
Amorpha fruticosa L.                        X    X      R         5
Antennaria neglecta Greene             X                R         3
Apocynum cannabinum L.                           X                2
Arctium minus (Hill) Bernh.                 X    X                *
Argemone polyanthemos (Fedde)          X                          1
  G. Ownbey
Aristida purpurea Nutt.                X                          5
Asclepias incamata L.                       X    X      R         4
Asclepias pumila (A. Gray) Vail        X                R         4
Asclepias syriaca L.                             X                1
Astragalus crassicarpus Nutt.          X                R         7
Astragalus mollissimus Torr.           X                          3
Aster ericoides L. ssp. ericoides      X         X                3
Aster oblongifolius Nutt.              X                          5
Aster lanceolatus Willd. subsp.             X    X      R         2
Bidens cernua L.                            X    X                3
Bidens comosa (A.Gray) Wegand                    X                2
Bidens frondosa L.                               X      R         1
Bolboschoenus fluviatilis (Torr.)                X      R         3
Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.)        X         X                5
Bouteloua gracilis (Kunth) Lag. Ex     X         X                4
Brickellia eupatorioides (L.)                    X      R         4
  Shinners var. corymbulosa
  (Tory. & A. Gray) Shinners
Bromus inermis Leyss. subsp. inermis   X         X                *
Bromusjaponicus Thunb. ex Murr.        X         X                *
Bromus tectorum L.                     X                          *
Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.    X                          2
Callirhoe involucrata                            X                2
  (Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray
Calystegia sepium (L.) R.Br. var.      X                          1
  angulata (Brummitt) N.H. Holmgren
Cannabis sativa L.                     X    X    X
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.    X    X    X
Carduus nutans L.                      X         X
Carex blanda C. Dewey                            X      R         2
Carex brevior (C. Dewey) Mack. Ex      X         X                4
Carex gravida L.H. Bailey              X                          4
Carex laeviconica C. Dewey                  X                     4
Carex praegracilis W. Boott            X                          4
Catalpa speciosa (L.) Bureau                X    X
Celtis occidentalis L.                 X                R         4
Cenchrus longispinus (Hack.) Fernald             X                0
Chenopodium berlandieri Moq.           X    X    X      R         0
Chenopodium simplex (Torr.) Raf.       X         X                1
Chloris verticillata Nutt.                       X                0
Cirsium altissimum (L.) Spreng.        X         X                1
Cirsium undulatum (Nutt.) Spreng.      X                          4
Cirsium vulgare (Savi) Tenore          X         X                *
Conium maculatum L.                         X                     *
Convolvulus arvensis L.                X    X    X                *
Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronquist       X    X    X                0
Comus drummondii C.A. Mey.             X    X    X                3
Croton texensis (Klotzsch) Mull.       X         X                1
Cyclanthera dissecta (Torr. &               X           R         0
  A. Gray) Am.
Cyclachaena xanthiifolia Fresen.            X    X                0
Cyperus odoratus L.                              X                3
Cyperus squarrosus L.                            X                2
Delphinium virescens Nutt.             X                R         6
Descurainia pinnata (Walter) Britton             X      R         0
Descurainia sophia (L.) Webb ex        X                          *
Desmanthus illinoensis (Michx.)                  X                5
  MacMillan ex B.L. Robinson
Desmodium canadense (L.) DC.                     X                5
Digitaria cognata (Schult.) Pilg.                X      R         4
Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.                 X                *
Dyssodiapapposa (Vent.) A.S. Hitchc.   X                R         0
Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.                   X      R         *
Echinocystis lobata (Michx.) Torr.               X                3
  & A.Gray
Eclipta prostrata (L.) L.                        X                2
Elaeagnus angustifolia L.                        X                *
Eleocharis palustris (L.) Roem. &      X                          4
Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.           X    X    X                *
Ellisia nyctelea (L.) L.               X                          0
Elymus canadensis L.                             X                5
Elymus repens (L.) Gould               X                R         *
Elymus smithii (Rydb.) Gould           X                R         3
Elymus virginicus L.                   X         X                4
Eragrostis cilianensis (All.)          X    X    X                *
  Vignolo ex Janch.
Eragrostispectinacea (Michx.) Nees               X                0
Erigeron strigosus Muhl. ex Wlld.      X         X      R         2
Euphorbia davidii Subils                         X                0
Euphorbia glyptosperma Engelm.                   X                0
Euphorbia marginata Pursh              X    X                     0
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall        X    X    X                2
Gaura coccinea Nutt. ex Pursh          X                          4
Gaura parviflora Dougl. ex Lehm.       X    X    X                1
Gleditsia triacanthos L.                         X                1
Hackelia virginiana (L.) I.M.                    X                2
Hedeoma hispida Pursh                  X                          2
Helianthus annuus L.                             X      R         0
Helianthus maximiliani Schrad.                   X      R         4
Hesperis matronalis L.                 X
Hordeumjubatum L.                      X         X                1
Hordeum pusillum Nutt.                 X                          1
Juniperus virginiana L.                X    X    X      R         1
Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.           X    X    X                *
Lactuca serriola L.                    X    X    X                *
Lactuca canadensis L.                       X    X      R         2
Lappula redowskii (Homem.) Greene      X                          2
  var. cupulata (A.Gray) M.E. Jones
Leonurus cardiaca L.                        X    X                *
Lepidium densiflorum Schrader          X    X    X                0
Leptochloa fusca (L.) Kunth subsp.               X                1
  fascicularis (Lam.) N. Snow
Liatris punctata Hook.                 X                          5
Lindemia dubia (L.) Pennell                      X                5
Linum sulcatum Riddell                 X                R         6
Lippia lanceolata Michx.                         X                3
Lithospermum incisum Lehm.             X                          5
Lygodesmiajuncea (Pursh) D. Don ex     X                          4
Malva neglecta Wallr.                            X      R         *
Medicago lupulina L.                             X                *
Medicago sativa L. subsp. sativa                 X      R          *
Mentha canadensis L.                             X                4
Melilotus albus Medikus.                         X
Melilotus officinalis (L.) Pallas      X
Mentzelia decapetala                   X                R         5
  (Pursh ex Sims) Urban
Mimosa quadrivalvis L. var.            X                          6
  nuttallii (DC. ex Standl.)
  Beard ex Barneby

Mirabilis nyctaginea (Michx.)          X    X    X                1
Morus alba L.                          X    X    X                *
Muhlenbergia mexicana (L.) Trin.       X         X                4
Muhlenbergia racemosa (Michx.)         X                          4
  Britton, Sterns, & Poggenb.
Nasturtium officinale WT Aiton         X                R         *
Nepeta cataria L.                           X    X                *
Oenothera biennis L.                   X    X    X      R         1
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf.           X                          5
Oxalis dillenii Jacq.                  X         X                0
Oxytropis lambertii Pursh              X                          6
Panicum capillare L.                   X    X    X      R         0
Panicum dichotomiflorum Michx.         X    X    X                0
Panicum oligosanthes Schult. var.      X                          4
  scribnerianum (Nosh) Fernald
Panicum virgatum L.                    X    X    X                4
Parthenocissus vitacea (Knerr)         X    X    X                4
  A. Hitchc.
Pediomelum digitatum (Nutt. Ex         X                R         6
  Torr. & A.Gray) Isely
Phalaris arundinacea L.                X    X    X                0
Physalis heterophylla Nees                       X                4
Physalis longifolia Nutt.              X         X                0
Phytolacca americana L.                     X    X      R         0
Plantago patagonica Jacq.              X                          1
Poa pratensis L.                       X    X    X                *
Polygonum aviculare L. subsp.                    X                *
  depressum (Meissn.) Arcang.
Polygonum bicome Raf.                  X         X                0
Polygonum lapathifolium L.                  X    X                2
Polygonum pensylvanicum L.             X    X    X      R         0
Polygonum persicaria L.                          X                *
Polygonum scandens L.                  X    X                     1
Populus deltoides Bartr. Ex            X    X    X                3
  Marsh.subsp. monilifera (Aiton)
Prunus virginiana L.                             X      R         3
Psoralidium tenuiflorum (Pursh)        X                          5
Ranunculus sceleratus L. var.                    X                *
Rhus glabra L.                                   X                2
Ribes missouriense Nutt.                         X      R         4
Ribes odoratum H.L. Wend].                       X                4
Rorippa palustris (L.) Bess. var.           X    X                4
  glabra (O.E. Schulz) Roy L.
  Taylor & MacBryde
Rosa woodsii Lindl.                         X    X      R         4
Rudbeckia hirta L. var. pulcherrima              X      R         4
Rumex altissimus A.W. Wood                       X                0
Rumex crispus L.                            X    X
Salix amygdaloides N.J. Andersson      X         X                4
Salix exigua Nutt. subsp. Interior               X                3
  (Rowlee) Cronquist
Salsola tragus L.                      X                          *
Salvia reflexa Homem.                  X                R         0
Sambucus canadensis L.                 X    X    X                2
Schizachyrium scopanium (Michx.)       X                          4
Setaria faberi R.A.W. Herrm.                     X      R         *
Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. &         X         X                *
Setaria verticillata (L.) P.Beauv.     X    X    X                *
Setaria viridis (L.) P. Beauv.         X    X    X                *
Sicyos angulatus L.                              X                1
Sisymbrium loeselii L.                           X      R         *
Solanum carolinense L.                 X         X                2
Solanum interius Rydb.                 X         X                0
Solanum rostratum Dunal                X    X    X                0
Solidago canadensss L.                 X    X    X                2
Solidago gigantea Aiton                X    X    X                3
Solidago missouriensis Nutt.           X                          5
Sonchus asper (L.) Hill                     X                     *
Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash           X    X    X                5
Spartina pectinata Link                     X    X                5
Sporobolus compositus (Poir.) Merr.    X         X                3
Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) A.                X                2
Stipa viridula Trin.                   X                R         4
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus Moench      X    X    X                2
Taraxacum officinale F.H. Wigg.        X    X    X      R         *
Teucrium canadense L. var.                       X                4
  occidentale (A.Gray) McClint.&
Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.)    X                          4
Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze     X    X    X                2
  var. rydbergii (J.K. Small ex
  Rydb.) Erskine
Tragopogon dubius Scop.                X                R         *
Tribulus terrestris L.                 X    X    X                *
Tridens flavus (L.) A.S. Hitchc.                 X      R         2
Ulmus americana L.                     X    X    X                3
Ulmus pumila L.                        X    X    X                *
Urtica dioica L. subsp. Gracilis       X    X    X                1
  (Aiton) Selander
Verbascum thapsus L.                   X    X    X                *
Verbena bipinnatifida Nutt.            X                          4
Verbena bracteata Lag. & J.D.          X                          0
Verbena hastata L.                               X                4
Verbena stricta Vent.                  X         X                2
Verbena urticifolia L.                           X                3
Vemonia baldwinii Torr.                X                R         3
Veronica anagallis-aquatica L.                   X                *
Vitis riparia Michx.                   X    X    X                3
Vulpia octoflora (Walter) Rydb.        X                          3
Xanthium strumarium L. var.            X    X    X                1
  canadense (P. Mill.)Torr. &
  A. Gray


The authors wish to thank the private landowners who gave permission for our study. We are also grateful for support and assistance from Dr. John Hastings, Department of Information Technology and Dr. Joseph Springer, Department of Biology at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Thanks to Rick Simonson for preparing the map of the study area.

Literature Cited

Farrar J. (2011) Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains (2nd Ed.). (The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, The University of Iowa Press, Iowa City). 266 pp. Johnson JR and Larson GE. (1999) Grassland plants of South Dakota and the Northern Great Plains. B-566. (South Dakota State University, Brookings). 288 pp.

Kaul RB and Simpson RA. (2012) Map depicting the number of vascular plant species documented by Nebraska county as of March, 2012. The Bessey Herbarium of the Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln.

Kaul RB and Rolfsmeier SB. (1994) Diversity of vascular plants and intensity of plant collecting in Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 21:13-20.

Kaul RB, Sutherland DM, and Rolfsmeier SB. (2011) The Flora of Nebraska (2nd Ed.). (Conservation and Survey Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. University of Nebraska--Lincoln). 967 pp.

Killion MK and Rothenberger SJ. (2011) The vascular flora of Brown County, Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 32:83-97.

Mitchell LE, Bowman G, and Yost DA. (1974) Soil survey of Harlan County, Nebraska. (United States Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. Washington, D.C., USA.) 63 pp.

Mueller-Dombois D and Ellenberg H. (1974) Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. (New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.) 547 pp.

Mushet DM, Euliss Jr NH, and Shaffer TL. (2002) Floristic quality assessment of one natural and three restored wetland complexes in North Dakota, USA. Wetlands 22(1):126-138.

Owensby CE. (1980) Kansas Prairie Wildflowers. (Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University Press). 124 pp.

Rolfsmeier SB and Steinauer G. (2003) Vascular plants of Nebraska (Version 1-July 2003). Unpublished document of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Lincoln, Nebraska. 57 pp.

Rothenberger SJ. (2000) A floristic study and species checklist for the Republican River Valley in Nebraska, with emphasis on plants of concern for conservation. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 26:1-15.

Rothenberger SJ, Veloso SL, and McGee JJ. (2010) A floristic analysis and comparison of two wet meadows in the middle and south Loup River Valleys of Nebraska. Proceedings of the 21st North American Prairie Conference 21:69-81.

Steinauer G. (2011) Nebraska Natural Heritage Program State List, C-values. The Nebraska Natural Heritage Program and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Lincoln.

Swink FA and Wilhelm GS. (1979) Plants of the Chicago region, 3rd edition. (Lisle, Illinois) Morton Arboretum.

Swink FA and Wilhelm GS. (1994) Plants of the Chicago region, 4th edition. (Indianapolis, Indiana) Indiana Academy of Sciences. 921 pp.

Veloso SL and Rothenberger SJ. (2008) Thomsen Meadow: a quantitative study and floristic quality analysis of a botanically diverse lowland. Pages 113-126 In Springer, JT (ed.). Proceedings of the 20th North American Prairie Conference, Kearney, NE.

Naomi D. Hastings and Steven J. Rothenberger

Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Kearney, Nebraska 68849-1140

Correspondence: Steve Rothenberger,

Table 1. The locations of the three study sites, Harlan County,

Site 1    Upland/Lowland    The W 1/2 SEC 36, T3N, R20W
Site 2    Riparian          The NW 1/4 of the SW 1/4 SEC 6, T2N, R19W
Site 3    Riparian          The SW 1/4 SEC 36, T3N, R20W

Table 2. Index of Similarity Values Comparing the Three Study Sites.

                 Jaccard's (ISj)    Sorensen's (ISs)

Sites 1 and 3              40.0%              51.9%
Sites 2 and 3              39.9%              56.6%
Sites 1 and 2              31.3%              47.2%
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Author:Hastings, Naomi D.; Rothenberger, Steven J.
Publication:Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2013
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