Special Arkansas Plant Life
Due to its geology and elevation, Mount Magazine has some features of an island isolated from other
botanical areas. Eleven separate natural communities provide habitats for a wide variety of Arkansas plant life and animal life. Some are Proposed, Endangered, Threatened, and Sensitive (PETS) species. The Mount Magazine State Park Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) lists 34 PETS species. Only In Arkansas by Robison and Allen, University of Arkansas Press, 1995, described a few additional species.
A number of Arkansas plant life species are "northern" species with large gaps in their ranges. Some of these PETS are Arkansas native plants
or native to neighboring states. A few of the more noticeable special species of Mount Magazine are the Maple-leaf Oak, the Western Wallflower, and the Wood's False Hellebore.
The Maple-leaf oak (Quercus acerifolia) was discovered on the northern slopes of Mount Magazine in 1924. For many years this scrubby oak was known to occur nowhere else. However, a few populations of these Arkansas native plants have been located on nearby mountains. While it is considered to be a variation of the Shumard oak, research is underway to determine if it should be a separate species.
The western wallflower (Erysimum capitatum) is a beautiful orange plant in the mustard family. It grows in rocky soils on the western third of Mount Magazine. These Arkansas native plants are found in only three Arkansas counties. Wallflowers bloom in June and are enjoyed by swallowtail butterflies in Arkansas
Wood's false hellebore (Veratrum woodii) has been found in only a few western counties. This unusual Arkansas plant life occurs on north- or east-facing wooded slopes at high elevations. It may go for years without blooming. But when it does bloom, the plant sends up a tall stalk, sometimes seven-feet high, lined with star-shaped maroon flowers.