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Western Spiderwort

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Illustration of the Western Spiderwort Western spiderwort is restricted to sand dune areas and appears to require some element of active or drifting sand. In Alberta, the single known location where western spiderwort occurs is in one small area of the Pakowki Lake sand hills in the southeastern portion of the province. There, the species is restricted to partially stabilized sand in dune slack areas and active sand on the dune area northeast of Pakowki Lake. The sites where western spiderwort occurs are sparsely vegetated and somewhat depressed areas among dunes. Slip faces of dunes immediately to the south and north of the site and a dune with choke cherry thickets to the west provide some shelter but sand gets deposited during windy days. The major active sandy areas that the western spiderwort and other rare, threatened, and endangered species of plants and animals depend on have been almost completely cultivated. 

In Alberta, western spiderwort is restricted to the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion of the Grassland Natural Region. The climate in the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion is the warmest and driest in Alberta. This subregion has a typical continental climate with cold winters, warm summers and low precipitation. Because of the warm summer temperatures and high average wind speed, the rate of evaporation is high throughout the summer months. 

Reprinted from Alberta Wildlife Status Report No. 31 (2001), with permission from Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.

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