The salty soils of the cold desert regions
of Wyoming are generally not a place that vegetation grows. However there are some species that can grow
in these harsh environments. Saltbushes are shrubs that can tolerate soils
with a high salt content. Salty soils are a problem because salts present
in the soil mix with water available to plants. This salty water is often too concentrated
for most plants to use for photosynthesis. Saltbushes can utilize salt water. Sometimes even water that is several times
saltier than the ocean. Saltbushes are important plants. They provide wildlife with food and cover
in areas that might be otherwise bare of vegetation. These plants also help protect soils from
increased erosion due to wind and the occasional rainstorm. Some typical saltbushes that can be found
in Wyoming include: black greasewood, fourwing saltbush, gardner’s saltbush, and shadscale
saltbush. While maybe not the most glamorous flora in
Wyoming, salt brushes play an important role in cold desert ecosystems. From the University of Wyoming Extension,
I’m Windy Kelley, Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.