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

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.






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. Ive 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: 2/5/2024 4:10:29 PM