Steamboat Lake State Park Plants
Native plant communities at Steamboat Lake are the following: • Sagebrush shrubland • Lodgepole pine forest • Northern subalpine forest • Aspen forest • Willow carr • Marsh • Wet meadow • Western slope grassland Sagebrush shrubland is the most common community type at Steamboat Lake, growing on dry slopes and ridges and on slightly moister slopes. Shrubland species include big sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, needlegrass and lupine.
In open areas of the sagebrush shrubland, mule’s ears and prairie junegrass dominate a western slope grassland community. The dominant forest trees are lodgepole pine and aspen with interspersed stands of Englemann spruce and sub-alpine fir. Herbaceous understory species include geranium, strawberry, arnica and mountain brome.
Willow carr, marsh and wet meadow plant communities exist in and around the reservoir and its tributary drainages. Willow carr is a wetland shrub community dominated by a variety of willows including wolf, booth, geyer and shining willow. Marshes consist primarily of sedges, rushes and bulrushes in areas with permanent standing water.
Wet meadows are not obviously marshy but possess traits, such as moist soil and hydrophytic vegetation, suggestive of periodic wet conditions. Common native species include tufted hairgrass, elephantella, western bistort, shrubby cinquefoil and scouring rush.