The Klamath National Forest has numerous Botanical Areas with many rare and endemic species.
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District
China Mountain Botanical Area
Located on the southeast edge of Salmon/Scott River Ranger District the area varies in elevation from 6320' to 8542'. This 660 acre area lies in the central portion of the China Mountain/Cory Peak crest zone and includes portions of both China Mountain and South China Mountain. The area contains high elevation ultramafic soils and as a result harbors many rare and sensitive plant species. Examples include Galium serpenticum ssp. scotticum, Epilobium siskiyouense, Phacelia dalesiana, Phacelia greenei, Eriogonum alpinum and Raillardella pringlei. In addition, both foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) can be found on the ridgetops. Both of these species have a limited distribution within the Klamath National Forest. Whitebark pine is especially limited as this species is seldom found below 8000' elevation.
Cory Peak Botanical Area
This area lies at the south end of the China Mountain/Cory Peak crest zone and varies in elevation from 6777' to 7757'. The 660 acre site is dominated by high elevation ultramafic soils which have a limited distribution on the Klamath National Forest. The area is inhabited by a high concentration of rare or endemic plant species. Examples include Epilobium siskiyouense and Eriogonum alpinum, both of which are restricted to high elevation ultrabasic soils. In addition, one of the only four known populations of Draba carnosula (an endemic to the Scott and Eddy Mountains) occurs within this area.
Rock Fence Creek Botanical Area
This area lies northeast of the Cory Peak Botanical Area. The boundary begins approximately 1/4 mile below Rock Fence Lake and follows Rock Fence Creek for 1 mile. The 156 acre site consists primarily of riparian vegetation within a mixed conifer forest. There are many mid-high elevation meadows in the area. The ultramafic soils are habitat for such species as California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica) and Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi). Other conifers of interest within the area include western white pine (Pinus monticola) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana).
Kangaroo Lake Botanical Area
A 430 acre site located on the southeast edge of the Salmon/Scott River Ranger District (T40N, R7W, SEC 14). The area varies in elevation from 6000' to 6857'. It provides a diversity of plant habitats ranging from wet seeps and meadows to rock walls. The high level of habitat diversity is associated with a correspondingly high botanical species diversity. Sensitive plant species present include Phacelia dalesiana and Epilobium siskiyouense. The area is easily accessible via Forest Service Road 41N08 and is associated with a developed campground facility.
Scott Mountain Botanical Area
Located on the north side of the Scott Mountain campground on the Scott Mountain crest, the area extends north to the SW edge of Little Carmen Lake (T40N, R7W, Sec 32). The area represents an example of a mid-elevation (4000-6000 ft.) ultramafic forest type. Three Sensitive species restricted to this sparsely forested habitat type are found here; Phacelia greenei, Galium serpenticum ssp. scotticum, and Ivesia pickeringii. The area also contains a population of California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica).
Duck Lake Botanical Area
Duck Lake Botanical Area is located within the Russian Wilderness (T40N, R9W/10W Sec 6,7,18,19, Sec 13,24,25). This area in the forest contains the richest diversity of conifer species in California. It includes the only known population of subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) in the state, and one of two known populations of Engleman spruce (Picea engelmannii) in California. The area also supports several populations of Brewer's spruce (Picea breweriana) which is endemic to the Klamath Mountains, and stands of both whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) and foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana). Two high-elevation glacial cirque lakes are also found in the area.
Grey Pine Botanical Area
This botanical area is located along the north edge of the Trinity Alps Wilderness along the South Fork of the Salmon River (T38N,12W,SEC 21,22,28). The 390 acre site represents the northern-most extension of grey pine (Pinus sabiniana) and is one of only a few locations on the Forest where this species can be found.
Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District
Preston Peak Botanical Area
Preston Peak Botanical Area is located within the Siskiyou Wilderness , at the western edge of the Siskiyou Crest Zone. This botanically diverse area is especially rich in conifer species. Examples include Brewer's spruce (Picea breweriana), mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana), and Alaska yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). In addition it supports the sensitive species Eriogonum hirtellum, and Lewisia cotyledon. The Federally Endangered Arabis mcdonaldiana occurs in this area.
Poker Flat Botanical Area
Poker Flat (T17N, R6E, Secs 20,29) is near the crest of the Coast Range. It lies within a zone of extremely high rainfall. The area is an example of a mid-elevation (5200 ft.) serpentine meadow, sports a brilliant display of wildflowers throughout the season, and harbors a number of sensitive or rare species including Castilleja elata, Pedicularis howellii, and Epilobium luteum. Epilobium luteum reaches its southern limit of range in the area.
Bear Peak Botanical Area
This 310-acre site is located within the Siskiyou Wilderness (T15N,R5E,SEC 13,14,15). It varies in elevation from 4000-5740 feet and is a representative example of both mixed conifer and true fir forest types on glacial granite. The area harbors many conifer species including Alaska yellow cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) and Brewer's spruce (Picea breweriana). The sensitive species Pedicularis howellii is found in the area.
Cook and Green Pass Botanical Area
Cook and Green Pass Botanical Area is 700 acres located within the Siskiyou Crest Zone (T47N, R11W, Secs 8,9,10). It contains a mosaic of plant communities and is considered to be the dividing line between the eastern and western Siskiyous. Vegetation in the area is dominated by the shrubby form of the Oregon oak (Quercus garryana var. breweri). This area has a phenomenal concentration of native plant species. It is one of the richest areas in California, with possibly as many as 300 species present. Rare or sensitive plants present include Pedicularis howellii, Siskiyou lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon), Antennaria racemosa, and Lilium wigginsii. Botanists and plant enthusiasts from around the country have considered the Cook and Green Pass area significant for years.
Observation Peak Botanical Area
Located along the Siskiyou Crest approximately 8 miles SW of Mt. Ashland (T41S,R1W/2W,SEC 6,7/1,12,13), this area includes Dutchman Peak, and is adjacent to botanical areas on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It ranges in elevation from 5700-7418 feet, and has a complex geology of peridotite mixed with granitic and metasedimentary rock. The subalpine flora includes a number of endemic species. Over 170 species of plants can be found in this area, an example of the high degree of plant species diversity in the Siskiyou crest zone. Species more common to several other areas are all found here, including many of the subalpine low cushion plants that are more common in the Sierra Nevada and High Cascades, as well as mountain mahogany, sagebrush and bunchgrasses that are found in the Great Basin. The area supports five species of rockcress (Arabis), eight species of daisies (Erigeron), seven different buckwheats (Eriogonum) and five species of Haplopappus.
Lake Mountain Foxtail Pine Botanical Area
A 40-acre site located just west of Lake Mountain Lookout (T45N, R11W, Sec 17), this botanical area represents the northern-most extension of foxtail pine (Pinus balfouriana). The area also supports stands of western white pine (Pinus monticola).
Red Mountain Botanical Area
Located within the Siskiyou Crest Zone (T40S/41S, R1W, Secs 32,33,34/4), this area is approximately 1.5 mi SW of Siskiyou Peak. Dominated by peridotite soils and rock outcrops, it is forested with Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) and a number of serpentine endemics. The area also contains a large stand of the native bunchgrass red fescue (Festuca rubra).
Seiad Baker Cypress Botanical Area
Located approximately 4 mi NE of the town of Seiad (T47N,R11W,SEC 17,18,19,20), this area contains a stand of the rare Baker Cypress (Cupressus bakeri). Part of the area was burned in the 1987 fires which consumed the adult plants, and triggered the germination of cypress seeds held for years on the trees awaiting fire. The hundreds of seedlings that germinated after the 1987 fire were mostly killed in the 2017 fire that burned the area, producing still another flush of seedlings. This extremely steep, rugged area has the largest stand of Baker cypress on the Forest. The ultramafic soils in the area also support a number of other rare plant species including two species of lady's slipper orchid, Cypripedium californicum and Cypripedium fasciculatum, a rare lily, Lilium wigginsii, and the Siskiyou lewisia, Lewisia cotyledon.
Mt. Ashland-Siskiyou Peak Botanical Area
This area is approximately 6 mi west of Interstate 5 at Siskiyou summit and along the Siskiyou Crest (T40S,R1W/1E,SEC 25,SEC 19,20,21), adjacent to the Mt. Ashland ski area and the McDonald Peak Botanical Area on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The soils are of decomposed granite and support a subalpine flora. The area is dominated by open glades and rocky fields of brush. Mt. Ashland, the highest peak on the Siskiyou Crest (7533 ft.), lies at the NE end of this outstanding botanical area. The area has been botanized since the late 1800's and is home to the Mt. Ashland lupine, Lupinus aridus ssp. ashlandensis, a plant subspecies known nowhere else in the world. In addition, the area supports a large population of Horkelia hendersonii, another Klamath Mountains endemic. Three species of grapefern can be found in the area; Botrychium crenulatum, Botrychium multifidum and Botrychium simplex. Siskiyou Peak, approximately 2 miles SW of Mt. Ashland, supports one of only 3 known populations of Tauschia howellii on the Klamath National Forest. This area, along with the rest of the Siskiyou Crest, supports a healthy native grassland. The most notable grass species in the area is greenleaf fescue (Festuca viridula) which forms pure stands in several areas.
White Mountain Botanical Area
This area is also located on the Siskiyou Crest, 2 miles NE of Cook & Green Pass (T47N,R10W/11W,SEC 6/SEC 1). Varying in elevation from 5400-6460 ft., it contains depauperate vegetation on schist and ultramafic soils. The vegetation is dominated by the huckleberry oak (Quercus vaccinifolia). White Mountain is composed of light colored ultramafic rock with a subalpine peridotite flora. Although the number of species in the area is small, the species that occur are highly interesting. They include species with restricted ranges such as Erigeron petrophilus, Epilobium siskiyouense, Polystichum lemmonii, Lewisia leeana, and Galium grayanum. The area contains the only known population of Saussurea americana in California. Saussurea is widespread, from Oregon to Alaska and Montana, and reaches its southern limit of range along the Siskiyou crest.
Goosenest Ranger District
Little Shasta Meadow Botanical Area
Locate at T46N,R3W,SEC 22,27, this area varies in elevation from 6040-6400 feet and is an example of both dry and wet high-elevation meadows. The 390 acre site contains several stands of quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) as well as a population of Greene's mariposa lily (Calochortus greenei), a sensitive plant species.
Black Lava Butte Botanical and Geologic Area
Black Lave Butte (T45N,R3E,SEC 34) is an island of vegetation in a sea of black lava. The site represents a classic example of the interaction of geological and biological forces and presents an excellent example of several stages of ecological succession. Several hundred years ago the Callahan Lava flow destroyed all vegetation in its path, except in areas high enough to escape the deluge of lava. In the high areas the vegetation is now dominated by old-growth Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), and an overlap of two plant communities; Eastside Pine and Eastside Mixed Conifer. Fires both recent and historic, have also played a role in shaping the ecology of the area, leaving plant stands of different species and ages. On the lava flow surrounding the island, only lichens, mosses and a few tough, woody species are beginning to colonize, in the early stages of succession.