Looking Back on 130 Years of Fern and Lycophyte Research in Glacier National Park, Montana: A Modern Taxonomic Account

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Abstract . Glacier National Park encompasses over one million acres in the mountains of northwestern Montana, along the United States-Canada border. Our survey of online databases indicates that the earliest extant fern and lycophyte collections from this area were taken by Robert S. Williams in 1892. In the summer of 1919, Paul C. Standley, a botanist with the United States National Museum, conducted a survey of the flora of the newly created Park and recorded 39 species of ferns and lycophytes. In 2002, a revised flora for the Park by Peter Lesica increased this number to 61. Here we summarize 130 years of collections-based research on the ferns and lycophytes of Glacier National Park, documenting how our understanding of the flora has changed through time. In the summer of 2019, the lead author conducted a field survey to relocate as many ferns and lycophytes as possible within park boundaries. In parallel, we scoured herbarium online portals and databases for high-resolution digitized specimen images to confirm or refute historical vouchers of ferns and lycophytes collected from the Park. In a few cases, specimen loans were requested from herbaria to confirm our determinations. The results from our combined field and online herbarium studies are presented here. Of the 61 taxa recognized by Lesica in 2002, we were able to confirm all but seven. In sum, we recognize here a total of 71 fern and lycophyte taxa for the Park. Most previously unreported taxa belong to Botrychium, a genus that has seen a flurry of recent taxonomic work by co-author Farrar and collaborators. These new data are presented here together with updated nomenclature and discussion to provide a current taxonomic account of the fourteen fern and lycophyte families known to occur in Glacier National Park. We anticipate this study will provide a useful foundation for further investigations in the Park.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Heron, K; Windham, MD; Farrar, DR; Pryer, KM

Published Date

  • October 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 111 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 223 - 250

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8444

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1640/0002-8444-111.4.223

Citation Source

  • Scopus