Menyanthes trifoliata
n = 2
III.B.3.c.  Subarctic Lowland Herb Bog Meadow
Ecosystem: Relict Drainageway / Lakebed, Depression, Kettle


This type is well documented in Alaska.

The two sites sampled were both found at lake marginal floating mats on kettles near Niskiski.  However, buckbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) will dominate on the Kenai lowlands anywhere water-logged peat occurs: in the central portion of a large relict drainageway; in deeper water than the tall cottongrass livid sedge community in a flark (small pool) on a relict lakebed; or at the edge of a central pool in a depression.  Emergent plant communities like this one are often under-sampled because foot travel on them is precarious.  

Buckbean is one of only a few plants which emerge from submerged peat, although water horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) and marsh fivefinger (Comarum palustre) are common low abundance associates. 

The peat mat is usually greater than a meter thick, and is typically found floating over open water.  The water table is at or above the surface. The pH is strongly to very strongly acid; at the two sites measured it was 5.1 and 4.8.

Table 1.  Summary of plant frequency and average cover for plants occurring in both plots.

        Wetland Indicator Status


f  Average Cover   Alaska National
Menyanthes trifoliata1 1.0 40.0 OBL OBL
Comarum palustre 1.0 3.5 OBL OBL
Eriophorum russeolum   1.0 0.8 FACW FACW
Calamagrostis canadensis   1.0 0.5 FAC FAC, OBL
Sphagnum spp. 1.0 52.5
Open water 1.0 0.8
1 Plant with known morphological adaptation for occurrence in wetlands (USACE, 1987)


 Introduction and Key to Plant Communities  

Introduction and Key to Ecosystems

    Kenai Hydric Soils    Map Unit Summary    Methods    Glossary

Contact: Mike Gracz
Kenai Watershed Forum 
PO Box 15301
Fritz Creek, AK  99603
The Alaska Natural Heritage Program
Environment and Natural Resource Institute
University of Alaska, Anchorage
707 A Street, Suite 101
Anchorage, Alaska  99501

04 May 2007 09:50