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    Southern maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris L.; Pteridaceae) is a cosmopolitan species that is widely distributed in southern North America. Stream orchid (Epipactis gigantea Dougl. ex Hook.; Orchidaceae) occurs in western North America from British Columbia, Canada; south to California, Arizona and New Mexico; and east to Texas. The species co-occur in disjunct populations in mineral warm springs habitats in South Dakota and British Columbia. Both species prefer warm, moist habitats and expand via rhizomatous growth and by wind- or waterdispersed propagules. In the Black Hills, southern maidenhair fern and stream orchid occur in scattered colonies at Cascade Springs, a series of six artesian warm springs, and downstream along Cascade Creek in Fall River County, South Dakota. Large populations of these species occur in recreational sites along Cascade Creek that are managed by the Black Hills National Forest. The species have persisted through decades of intense human disturbance during the springs use as a commercial mineral spa at the turn of the century and ongoing public use. The confinement of these two species to just one watershed in the Black Hills makes them potentially vulnerable to random events such as extreme drought. However, their potential for persisting along Cascade Creek is increased by the relatively constant water source originating from a deep source and the fact that, with the exception of invasion by noxious weeds, not all the populations are exposed to other impacts such as recreation. Further, regular monitoring and vigilance in controlling invasive species, as proposed, will increase the odds of detecting and responding to factors that could lead to the demise of these species.

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    Hornbeck, J. Hope; Reyher, Deanna J.; Sieg, Carolyn Hull; Crook, Reed W. 2003. Conservation assessment for southern maidenhair fern and stream orchid in the Black Hills National Forest South Dakota and Wyoming. Custer, SD: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, Black Hills National Forest. 41 p.


    Adiantum, Epipactis, warm springs, Cascade Valley, Black Hills

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