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Toxic Vegetation Growing on the Salt Wash Sandstone Member of the Morrison Formation

O. A. Beath
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 30, No. 9 (Nov., 1943), pp. 698-707
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2437716
Page Count: 10
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Toxic Vegetation Growing on the Salt Wash Sandstone Member of the Morrison Formation
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Abstract

Native vegetation, including grasses, growing on the Salt Wash member of the Morrison in southeastern Utah is quite generally seleniferous. The shales and sandstones in this member and overlying alluvium carry selenium, some being in a form available to all types of vegetation. The parts of the Morrison above the Salt Wash member and most other geological formations in this region support an abundance of selenium indicator plants; grasses and many plant species that normally do not absorb selenium were generally non-toxic on such geological occurrences. Selenium concentrations are highest in the vanadium-uranium ore zones of the Salt Wash member. Very few native plants are rooted in the ore proper. The origin of selenium appears to parallel that of vanadium and possibly other trace minerals present in the Salt Wash member. Preliminary tests indicate that vanadium, barium, uranium, chromium, copper, cobalt, titanium, and tellurium are not absorbed by native vegetation in significant amounts. Molybdenum in a few instances occurs in probably toxic quantities. Field observations on the toxic character of the native vegetation on the poison strips are fully confirmed by chemical data.

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