, Volume 568, Issue 1, pp 499–505 | Cite as

Native and invasive vegetation of karst springs in Wisconsin’s Driftless area

Short Research Note


Little is known about the vegetation found in the karst springs of Wisconsin’s unglaciated region, the Driftless Area. We sampled 26 of these springs, documenting all associated plant species and their status (native, non-native, invasive) and analyzed whether vegetation patterns are related to spring orientation or to spring area. Two-way ANOVA results show that non-native and invasive species, namely Nasturtium officinale (watercress, Brassicaceae), are significantly more abundant than natives in north-facing springs (p < 0.01), but not in south-facing springs. Generally, native species are restricted to, or more abundant in, south-facing springs, and may have a microtopographical preference for these sites, which may receive more direct solar radiation. Nasturtium officinale, the most abundant invasive species, has high cover values in both north and south orientations and is less restricted in its distribution. Correlation analysis shows that the larger the spring, the higher the percent of Nasturtium (p < 0.01) and invasive species cover (as a percent of spring area) (p < 0.005). Larger springs often had slower moving water and this may have contributed to the success of Nasturtium, which may outcompete shade-intolerant natives in the larger springs. Native species cover was negatively related to spring area, though this result was marginally insignificant (p = 0.08).


Nasturtium officinale Pleistocene refugia spring area spring orientation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Auslandera M., Nevob E. and Inbara M. (2003). The effects of slope orientation on plant growth, developmental instability and susceptibility to herbivores. Journal of Arid Environments 55: 405–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Csontos P., Tamás J. and Podani J. (2004). Slope aspect affects the seed mass spectrum of grassland vegetation. Seed Science Research 14: 379–385 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Curtis J. T. (1972). The Vegetation of Wisconsin: An Ordination of Plant Communities. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, USAGoogle Scholar
  4. Day M. J., Kueny J. A., Parrish A. K. and Tenorio R. C. (2004). Testing a preliminary model of spring location in the karst of southwestern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Geographer 20: 29–34Google Scholar
  5. Day M. J., Reeder P. P. and Oh J. W. (1989). Dolostone karst in southwestern Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Geographer 5: 29–40Google Scholar
  6. De Geoffroy J., Wu S. M. and Heins R. W. (1970). Some observations on springs in southwestern Wisconsin. Water Resources Research 6: 1235–1238Google Scholar
  7. Drezner T. D. and Fall P. L. (2002). Effects of inter-annual precipitation patterns on plant cover according to dispersal mechanisms along a riparian corridor in the Sonoran Desert, USA. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 34: 70–80 Google Scholar
  8. Drezner T. D., Fall P. L. and Stromberg J. C. (2001). Plant distribution and dispersal mechanisms at the Hassayampa River Preserve, Arizona, USA. Global Ecology and Biogeography 10: 205–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dudley S. A. and Schmitt J. S. (1996). Testing the adaptive plasticity hypothesis: density-dependent selection on manipulated stem length in Impatiens capensis. The American Naturalist 147: 445–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eggers S. D. and Reed D. M. (1997). Wetland Plants and Plant Communities of Minnesota and Wisconsin . US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul, MN, USAGoogle Scholar
  11. Fassett N. C. (1978). Spring Flora of Wisconsin, a Manual of Plants Growing Without Cultivation and Flowering before June 15. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, USAGoogle Scholar
  12. Gaffield S. J. (2000). Evaluation of the Controls of Summer Stream Temperature in the Driftless Area of Southwestern Wisconsin. Department of Geological Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, PhD Dissertation.Google Scholar
  13. Glenny W. W. (1897). Watercress, its history and cultivation. Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 8: 607–622Google Scholar
  14. Goulder R. (2001). Recovery by aquatic vegetation in a Wolds headstream subsequent to the 1988–1992 drought. The Naturalist 126: 127–131Google Scholar
  15. Hartley T. G. (1966). The Flora of the Driftless Area. The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USAGoogle Scholar
  16. Hoffman S. L. (1995). Karst Springs, their Uses and Influence on Rural House Location in the Platte River Watershed, Southwestern Wisconsin, 1840–1900. University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA, M.S. Thesis.Google Scholar
  17. Howard H. W. and Lyon A. G. (1952). Nasturtium officinale R. Br. (Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (L.) Hayek). Journal of Ecology 40: 228–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Huber H., Kane N. C., Heschel M. S., Banta J., Leuck A. and Schmitt J. (2004). Frequency and microenvironmental pattern of selection on plastic shade-avoidance traits in a natural population of Impatiens capensis. The American Naturalist 163: 548–563PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Invasive Plant Association of Wisconsin (2003). IPAW Working List of the Invasive Plants of Wisconsin: March 2003. Plants out of Place 4: 1–20Google Scholar
  20. Kemp S. L. and Day M. J. (1997/1998). Karst springs water sources in Southwestern Wisconsin: an historical perspective. The Wisconsin Geographer 13/14: 29–39Google Scholar
  21. Lyons J., Wang L. and Simonson T. D. (1996). Development and validation of an index of biotic integrity for cold water streams in Wisconsin. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 16: 241–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Midwestern Regional Climate Center, 2004. Climate of the Midwest – Historical Climate Summaries. (http://mcc.sws.uiuc.edu/html/MWclimate_data_summaries.htm#Google Scholar
  23. Schmitt J., Eccleston J. and Ehrhardt D. W. (1987). Dominance and suppression, size-dependent growth and self-thinning in a natural Impatiens capensis population. Journal of Ecology 75: 651–665CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Schütz W. (1995). Vegetation of running waters in Southwestern Germany: pristine conditions and human impact. Acta Botanica Gallica 142: 571–584Google Scholar
  25. Tenorio, R. C., 2005. Winter transitional morphology and photosynthetic responses of Nasturtium officinale (Brassicaceae). Masters Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin – MilwaukeeGoogle Scholar
  26. Ustin S. L., Woodward R. A., Barbour M. G. and Hatfield J. L. (1984). Relationships between sunfleck dynamics and Red Fir seedling distribution. Ecology 65: 1420–1428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Vermeulen J. and Whitten T. (1999). Biodiversity and Cultural Property in the Management of Limestone Resources: Lessons from East Asia. The World Bank, Washington D.C., USAGoogle Scholar
  28. White W. B. (1988). Geomorphology and Hydrology of Karst Terrains. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UKGoogle Scholar
  29. White W. B., Culver D. C., Herman J. S., Kane T. C. and Mylroie J. E. (1995). Karst lands. American Scientist 83: 450–459Google Scholar
  30. Wiegleb G. (1981). Struktur vertreitung und bewertung von makrophytengesellschaften niedersachsischer fließgewasser. Limnologica 13: 427–448Google Scholar
  31. Williams J. W., Shuman B. N., Bartlein P. J. and Leduc P. (2004). Late-Quaternary vegetation dynamics in North America: scaling from taxa to biomes. Ecological Monographs 74: 309–334Google Scholar
  32. Wisconsin State Herbarium, 2004. Wisconsin Vascular Plant Species Database. Accessed September 2003. (URL: http://www.botany.wisc.edu/herbarium/)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Wisconsin – MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations