Peggy Lyon Western Colorado Flora Collection

geranium kingsii

Peggy Lyon Western Colorado Flora Collection

Peggy Lyon has collected and surveyed plants for decades in Western Colorado. Over the years of working for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program, she has become a "guru" of plant flora. Peggy has led wildflower walks as part of MSI's Mountain Learning Program. She was integral to MSI's baseline alpine survey conducted in 2006 that began a long-term study (as part of the international GLORIA program).

Upon her impending retirement, Peggy decided to donate her flora collection to MSI for display at Fort Lewis College. Thanks Peggy!

The San Juan Public Lands Center (USFS/BLM) provided funds for labor and materials needed to prepare the collection for use.

What is in the Collection?

elephant head

The specimens in this collection include vascular plants from the western slope of Colorado, from desert to alpine tundra.  They were collected during various projects on the western slope, from a master’s thesis in 1993/4 in the San Miguel and Lower Dolores drainages, to various Colorado Natural Heritage Program county-wide projects and rare plant surveys on National Forest and BLM lands, through 2008. 

Counties represented include: Montezuma, Dolores, La Plata, Archuleta, Hinsdale, San Miguel, San Juan, Montrose, Ouray, Delta, Mesa, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Pitkin, Summit, Eagle and Rio Grande.

Major families represented are Asteraceae (166 species); Poaceae (104); Fabaceae (77); Cyperaceae (71); and Brassicaceae (67). 

Seventy-two are species tracked by the Colorado Natural Heritage Program.

How can you access the Collection?

The Peggy Lyon Collection is housed at the herbarium at Fort Lewis College. The Fort Lewis College herbarium is an internationally registered collection (code FLD) with current holdings of approximately 15,000 specimens of vascular plants and fungi, principally from southwest Colorado and the San Juan Mountains.  The herbarium is housed within  and managed by the department of Biology and access is granted to the public via prior arrangements with the curator, Dr. Ross A McCauley. Contact Dr. McCauley by email or phone, 970-247-7338. 

indian paint brush

Currently the herbarium is housed in a portion of the botany laboratory and thus access is restricted to those times when the room is not needed for instruction.  At the end of 2009 the Biology department will be moving to a new facility which is currently under construction.  With this move the herbarium will have a larger and dedicated space with new compactor-style cabinets, work space with microscopes for examining specimens, a small library of botanical literature, principally taxonomic keys for the Rocky Mountains and Intermountain West, and a dedicated computer with internet access to botanical databases and resources.  In order to increase the public accessibility and usefulness of the collection a project is currently underway to start the data basing of the collection with one of the goals being the distribution of herbarium records via a publically accessible internet database.