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U.S. Forest Service

Klamath-Siskiyou Serpentines

Stark Beauty

Stark and toxic, diverse and rare, serpentines are a land of contrasts. Formed within the earth's mantle, serpentine rocks found their way to the surface. On serpentine soils, a unique flora evolved especially adapted to survive the severe hardships of drought, heavy metals, and nutrient stress. Complex islands of endemism and rarity developed in isolated plant communities on the severe landscapes.

The Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of northwest California and southwest Oregon are the largest serpentine area in North America. Celebrating Wildflowers features the unique plant communities on the National Forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. Discover sub-alpine communities, Jeffrey pine woodlands, and Darlingtonia wetlands. Learn how we are conserving these communities. Enjoy the stark beauty of the serpentines.

USGS plate tectonics graphic


Where the Earth's crust collides, serpentine is born

Mt. Eddy of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains

Serpentine Soils and Plant Adaptations

How the soils formed and the plants adapted to tolerate the extreme serpentine conditions

Silene serpentinicola

A Center of Diversity, Endemism, and Rarity

Plants that occur in this geographic area are found nowhere else in the world

Raillardella habitat

Plant Communities

From Woodland to Wetland: The Diversity of Serpentine Plant Communities

Jeffrey pine savannah.


Conserving the Botanical Richness of Serpentine Communities

Darlingtonia californica

More Information

Related links and publications