BOTANICAL EVALUATION OF THE GOAT ISLAND COMPLEX, NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK
4. Base of Goat Island
A review of maintenance activities on Goat Island will probably show much of the present talus or rubble to be relatively recent due to trimming the cliff face above to prevent rock collapse and soil slumping off the "high bank" and generally stabilizing the upper surfaces to protect visitors and structures above. Such activity had a long history for in 1829 "crowds were attracted to both sides of the River ... to witness the advertised blasting of cliff overhangs (Stone in Dow, 1921; Scott & Scott, 1983). Presently, there is "ongoing periodic scaling of the gorge walls above major viewing areas, such as the Cave-of-the-Winds" (The Promontory Partnership, 1981). This new rock probably covers what original vegetation may have existed. From evidence in other areas of the Niagara Gorge, when rubble falls, it is catastrophic, totally destroying everything on the talus slopes below, no matter how well established the talus forest may have been, and exposing new surfaces for colonization by vegetation.
Rare bryophyte communities existed below Terrapin Point before it was blasted away in the 1980's - there may be persistent populations, but the area of the spray zone at the Horseshoe Falls could not be investigated for this report. A station of the only populations of Kalm's St.-John's Wort (Hypericum kalmianum) in New York State was lost near the area of the Cave of the Winds by human activity there. The base of Goat Island should be considered one of the more sensitive natural areas on the island pending further study.
Certain early realistic drawings such as that of Niagara Falls painted by Frederic Church in 1856 (Niagara Falls, Fig. 59 in Adamson, 1985) show little tree and shrub vegetation at the base of Goat Island, and that which is drawn appears as it does today, in patches between areas of rock fall.
Levels of water in the plunge pool are lower today (15 feet in the tourist season and 26 feet in the cold months due to water diversion) than previously, so more of the talus slope is exposed in its basal or shoreward area, and that exposure is relatively young (American Falls International Board, 1971). The shoreline in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool is nearly 400 feet from the vertical face of the American Falls, "some 100 feet of this has resulted from lowering of the Pool" since 1922 (American Falls International Board, 1971).
In addition to disturbance by rock fall, old photographs show how the winter ice would build up in the plunge pool and migrate down stream scouring the lower shoreline generally free of anything that was free or loose. In 1909 one of the worst winter storms on record for April created conditions in the river such that the level of the lower river extending up to the Falls rose to approximately forty feet above its normal level (26 Ann Rep Comm, 1910).
Access to the base of Goat Island must be had using mechanical means. One of the earliest depictions of a ladder built to the lower slopes appeared in a later rendition of the Falls drawn from Hennepin's original illustration. The picture with ladder is duplicated by Porter (16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900), and is given the date 1751 (see section on pictorial tradition). This structure must have pre-dated ownership of the Island by the Porter family (1815) and the first bridge to Goat Island (1817). This ladder, if it ever existed, may have been built by soldiers from the local forts, or simply been meant to indicate, by artist's convention, a means by which native peoples were said to descend to the lower slopes, on analogy with the "Indian Ladder" on the Canadian side.
Construction of the Biddle Stairs made public access to the base of Goat Island possible. This well-built wooden structure, named after Nicholas Biddle "of United States Bank fame," who suggested its construction and either helped pay for it (16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900) or had his contribution declined (17 Ann Rep Comm, 1901), was built in 1829 by the Porter family, then owners of Goat Island (Porter, 16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900). These stairs were structurally sound and lasted nearly a century, ultimately to be replaced in the twentieth century by the present elevator. The Biddle Stairs was the way to the base of Goat Island and the Cave of the Winds. The Stairs were between the American and the Horseshoe Falls where the "view was unparalleled," and about where the present elevator is located. In 1896, one could easily walk "along the edge of the water from the American to the Horseshoe Falls" (13 Ann Rep Comm, 1897).
An early natural draw to the base of the Island was Aeolus' Cave, or, the Cave of the Winds - a name the Canadians were also to use later for a similar attraction on their own side, arousing complaints from the American operators. ++This attraction may have been relatively recent although the following quote may have been mistaken about its locality, or since it is doubtful that there were two attractions on the American side with the same name: "people from time to time had ventured into what is now called the "Cave of the Winds," but it was only in the 1870s that group tours behind the Falls from below Prospect Point [my emphasis] were seriously undertaken" (Scott & Scott, 1983). In 1882, the cost to visit this Cave of the Winds was $1.00 when entrance to Goat Island cost half that (Scott & Scott, 1983). At any rate, the Goat Island "caves" appear to have been created from a projecting "table" of rock comprising the resistant caprock at the top of the gorge. Such projecting ledges can be viewed throughout the Niagara Escarpment at least west to Manitoulin Island in Ontario. When located at the brink of the cataracts, the water would be borne away from the gorge wall, permitting passage behind the curtain of falling water. The Cave of the Winds trip was "the passage behind the small sheet of water that flowed between Goat and Luna Islands, and out beyond amidst the waters dashing and plunging in the sunlight, and the journey from rock to rock, and over rushing torrents, in front of this fall and back to Goat Island" (Porter, 16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900). Visitors to the old Cave of the Winds, American side, were able to experience an interesting "pressure of the atmosphere behind the sheet of water" (Porter, 16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900).
The Cave of the Winds walk below the Bridal Veil Falls was permanently altered in 1955. The projecting ledge of Lockport dolomite at the crest of the Bridal Veil Falls, approximately nine meters (30 feet) deep, was "judged to be unsafe and removed by blasting in 1955" (Krajewski & Liberty, 1981).
In 1908, a "pathway has been constructed along the western end of Goat Island on the talus slope, leading from the foot of the stairway at the bottom of the Biddle Stairs to about twenty feet above the water level, thence to the Horseshoe and the American Falls, at the latter point connecting with the system of bridges leading through the Cave of the Winds" (25 Ann Rep Comm, 1909). I could find no evidence for such a path in 1988 - it probably lies buried beneath subsequent talus. Portions of these early paths were constructed directly under the overhanging caprock, such that in 1906 part of the talus path to the Cave of the Winds had to be brought down to midslope "as any rock falling from the face of the cliff will strike on the old walk at the top of the talus slope and remain there" (23 Ann Rep Comm, 1907). Care was taken that whatever "scenery" there was then was not defaced during this operation, suggesting perhaps that an intact community of plant species existed here.
Earliest depictions of the Falls show the talus slopes at the base of Goat Island to have supported a forest in which conifers were dominant. The same conifer element also ringed the lip or crest areas at the river margins, including the high bank or crest forming the western end of Goat Island. Testimonial evidence supports this reconstruction (see also discussion on crest woods). It is probably the Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) that was the primary conifer in the lower woods, with a secondary component of Arbor Vitae (Thuja occidentalis). Both may be still seen in isolated stations along the Niagara gorge, and there is presently a well-developed bank of Arbor Vitae by the elevator along the path to the Cave of the Winds. These conifers appear to have tolerated the natural disturbances presented by talus conditions. Also the length of daylight in this north-south trending gorge is much curtailed compared with the length of daylight available at the top of the gorge, for example, on one field trip conducted for the present study (July 28) it was nearly 11:00 A.M. and the base of Goat Island was still in shade, sunlight just touching the shoreline. Lack of typical insolation and conditions of late ice-flow in the river may produce cooler conditions favoring conifer development over the typical beech-maple forests of the region, and of Goat Island above.
Visitors with an interest in botany made use of this access to the unusual environment near the water's edge, and close to all three cataracts. There were not many other ways down to the base of the gorge throughout the gorge's seven-mile length. Botanists involved in the study of algae (phycologists) were early drawn to the promise of a significant wet environment to explore.
In 1849, Prof. William Henry Harvey, Trinity College, University of Dublin, collected the green alga Scytonema alatum (as Petalonema alatum) "on dripping rocks under Biddle stair-case," one of only two stations for this algae in North America (Smith, 1933). Harvey was to publish the first complete treatment of the green algae of North America (Harvey, 1841). Another phycologist, H. C. Wood, was to follow, collecting three species new to science, two at the Cave of the Winds (Zonotrichia mollis and Z. parcezonata) (Wood, 1872) and a third "on the rocks below the great cataract" (Scytonema cataractae) (Wood, 1871). Francis Wolle, subsequently a distinguished scholar of fresh-water algae of the United States, was to collect at the base of Goat Island as well, issuing specimens from "Rocks, Niagara" from around 1876 in an exsicat entitled "Fresh Water Algae of the United States" (see section on algae).
Today there is a black growth or organic coating on cobbles near the top of the talus in areas away from the Horseshoe Falls, making it difficult to walk. Perhaps this may be the alga Diplocolon heppii noted by Wolle (1877) growing "as a blackish-brown stratum of considerable extent" (Smith, 1933). This alga was first collected in the United States from the "limestone cliffs at Niagara Falls" (Smith, 1933). (It could not be determined as of this writing whether Wolle's Scytonema hagetschweilerii "forming a dark brown coating on wet rocks, Niagara Falls" is the same as D. heppii). Scytonema alatum is also a "subaerial species" (Smith, 1933) with a preference for limestone cliffs.
For flowering plants, on June 26, 1862, George Clinton was able to collect a fern "below the Biddle Stairs," and on August 8, 1865, recorded in his journal finding Kalm's St.-John's Wort "on the talus, directly below the Cave of the Winds shanty." On Sept. 27 of that year, he reported that he could look for a moss of interest to him "near the Middle & the British Falls." In 1862, on the Canadian side, the Quebecois Abbe Leon Provancher reported a station of Kalm's St. John's-wort (Hypericum kalmianum) growing on "rochers au bas de la chute de Niagara."
The entire area that is not dolomite bluffs is talus to the water's edge and below the water surface. All substrates appear to be on rocks or soil below a layer of rocks of cobble size. Great boulders are strewn here and their with their own characteristic plants. Seepage occurs below the rocks in areas covered extensively with Impatiens biflora. Woodland patches occur just below the top of the talus slope, not at the bottom.
The vegetation today is very interrupted, or patchy, isolated remnants of possibly larger vegetated communities reduced by rockfall from above, or limited by the possibility of subsurface seepage into the talus slope from the bedrock, and is of four general types:
1) Isolated areas of native trees, shrubs and herbs with some soil located near the top of the slope, with Grape (Vitis riparia) and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus sp.) vines making walking difficult. These patches appear to be relatively dry. Wooded patches of forest species occur here: Red Ash (Fraxinus pensylvanica), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva), American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) and Basswood (Tilia americana), Paper Birch, Betula papyrifera. The ground is not wet here, the moisture collecting on the surfaces of the canopy. Some moss occurs in shade on protected rocks and logs. Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal (Smilacina stellata), typical of the woods above, occurs here, as do probably other woodland species in the spring.
2) Areas of weedy growth, toward the American Falls and along the naturally disturbed shoreline, with extensive populations of crucifers, such as Diplotaxis and Brassica. Weedy taxa seem to a large extent associated with the elevator due to planted trees and introduced soil, as well as the constant traffic from above during the summer months. Probably the single major source of introduced seeds derives from populations established near the crest-line above. Species at the base area under discussion include Sweet Clover (Melilotus alba), Black Mustard (Brassica nigra), Box Elder, (Acer negundo), Black Locust (Robinia pseucoacacia), Sow-thistles (Sonchus oleraceus), These taxa were not very apparent toward the middle to southern areas of the Island face.
3) Areas with dense growth in response to the spray of the Horseshoe Falls, mostly species of Touch-me-Not (Impatiens biflora or pallida) and Angelica (Angelica atropurpurea). There does not appear to be a lot of shrubby growth here, outside of several Elder shrubs (Sambucus canadensis) and one Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius).
4) Boulder vegetation occurs on the continuous surfaces of large blocks of solid dolomite. Grasses and other plants occupy the solution cavities and crevices in the rock surface. It is here that the Rough-stemmed Wheat-grass grows (Agropyron trachycaulum var. unilaterale), Spear-grass (Poa annua), and weedy Erigerons (Erigeron strigosus or annuus).
No path to the Horseshoe Falls was observed - it could be buried under talus. Public access is restricted. The impression received during field collections was that moist air is constant, and mist is continually distributed toward the Horseshoe Fall. The talus slope is very unstable, cobbles of all sizes are easily dislodged. Wooded areas support shrubby growth and vines (Grape and Virginia Creeper) making progress extremely difficult. Species composition changes as you approach the Horseshoe. The shrubby material exists here.
Extensive colonies of Ring-necked Gull occur here, with nests in the rocks and eggs, punctured. Workers at the Cave of the Winds report occurrences of Racoons. Little piles of bones were observed. All the while collections were made (until 1:00 P.M.) the slopes were in shade.
TREES AND SHRUBS
* Acer negundo BOX ELDER. Well developed, associated with the elevator.
Betula papyrifera PAPER BIRCH. In one or two places in wooded patches.
Carpinus caroliniana AMERICAN HORNBEAM. Single, large tree on talus; cluster of 10 trunks, young.
Celastrus scandens CLIMBING BITTERSWEET. Over rocks, good to introduce on ballast above.
Cornus alternifolia ALTERNATE-LEAVED DOGWOOD. Wooded patch.
Cornus stolonifera RED-OSIER DOGWOOD. Abundant throughout.
Fraxinus pennsylvanica RED ASH. Abundant; one 40 inches in circumference.
Juglans nigra BLACK WALNUT. Mature tree.
Lonicera tartarica TARTARIAN HONEYSUCKLE. Well developed specimens.
* Morus alba WHITE MULBERRY.
Ostrya virginiana. Big tree up slope.
Parthenocissus vitacea DISCLESS VIRGINIA-CREEPER. By elevator; in drier areas abundant.
Physocarpus opulifolius NINE-BARK. Single shrub seen, toward the Horseshoe.
Populus deltoides COTTONWOOD. Colonizing, young shoots and a few trees.
Prunus virginiana CHOKECHERRY. In wooded patches.
* Pyrus malus APPLE. Single specimen seen, fruiting.
* Rhamnus frangula ALDER BUCKTHORN. Abundant on talus slopes in drier, wooded sections.
Rhus radicans POISON IVY. In drier areas between the two Falls, especially associated with wooded patches.
Rhus typhina STAGHORN SUMAC. Abundant along the elevator path, colonizing; increases in abundance toward the American Falls.
* Robinia pseucadacia BLACK LOCUST. Only near the mother tree, probably planted, by elevator.
Rubus odoratus PURPLE-FLOWERING RASPBERRY. Abundant in patches, more in the central, drier areas, with Solidago; path by elevator.
Salix bebbiana BEAKED WILLOW. Toward the Horseshoe Falls.
Salix interior SANDBAR WILLOW. Few, toward the Horseshoe Falls.
Sambucus canadensis ELDERBERRY. More abundant than the following and also out in the open.
Sambucus pubens RED-BERRIED ELDER. Found in wooded patches.
Tilia americana BASSWOOD. Abundant with many saplings, shoots.
Ulmus americana AMERICAN ELM. One of the bigger trees seen.
Ulmus rubra SLIPPERY ELM. Young, abundant; one 40 inches in circumference in one patch.
Vitis riparia FROST GRAPE. By elevator; upslope, more abundant in drier areas between the Falls.
Agropyron trachycaulum var. unilaterale ROUGH-STEMMED WHEAT-GRASS. On rocks, frequent, the only station so far discovered in the Niagara River Gorge.
Ambrosia artemisiifolia COMMON RAGWEED.
Anemone canadensis CANADA ANEMONE.
Angelica atropurpurea PURPLE-STEMMED ANGELICA.
* Barbarea vulgaris WINTER CRESS. Scattered throughout.
* Berberis thunbergii JAPANESE BARBERRY. Single shrub seen.
* Brassica nigra BLACK MUSTARD.
* Chenopodium album LAMB'S QUARTERS.
* Chrysanthemum leucanthemum OX-EYE DAISY. Abundant.
* Cirsium arvense CANADA THISTLE. By elevators.
Convolvulus sepium HEDGE BIND-WEED.
Cuscuta DODDER. Extensive, early, in one area.
Cystopteris bulbifera BULBLET-BLADDER FERN. Frequent on boulders.
* Daucus carota QUEEN ANN'S LACE. Abundant, by elevator path.
Dennstaedtia punctilobula HAY-SCENTED FERN. Here and there toward the Horseshoe Falls.
* Diplotaxis sp. Either SAND or WALL ROCKET. Abundant.
Eupatorium maculatum JOE-PYE WEED.
Eupatorium rugosum WHITE SNAKE-ROOT. In drier areas between the Falls, more toward the elevator area.
* Galinsoga ciliata CILIATE GALINSOGA.
Geranium robertianum HERB ROBERT. Single group, in wooded patch
Geum canadense WHITE AVENS. Wooded patches.
Impatiens biflora SPOTTED TOUCH-ME-NOT. Becomes more abundant as you approach the Horseshoe, till it completely covers the cobble-boulder slope, making it difficult to walk; also by elevator.
Juncus tenuis PATH RUSH.
Lepidium virginicum COMMON PEPPERGRASS.
* Linaria vulgaris BUTTER AND EGGS.
* Lythrum salicaria PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE. In seepage coming out near the elevator and in wet areas along the talus near the shoreline all the way toward the Horseshoe.
Melilotus alba SWEET CLOVER. Near elevator.
Nepeta cataria CATNIP. Along path by elevator; in drier areas, wooded patches. Mints abundant, especially toward the Horseshoe.
Oxalis stricta UPRIGHT YELLOW WOOD-SORREL.
Pilea cf. pumila CLEARWEED. Species becomes more abundant as one approaches the Horseshoe, even occurring on near vertical boulder surfaces.
* Plantago major BROAD-LEAVED PLANTAIN.
* Poa annua SPEAR GRASS. On boulders.
Poa palustris FOWL MEADOW-GRASS.
Polygonum spp. Various species abundant, increases toward the Horseshoe.
Polygonum convolvulus BLACK BINDWEED.
Polygonum pensylvanicum PENNSYLVANIA SMARTWEED.
Polygonum persicaria LADY-S THUMB.
Potentilla norvegica ROUGH CINQUEFOIL.
* Rumex crispus CURLED DOCK. Throughout.
Scrophularia marilandica MARYLAND FIGWORT.
* Senecio vulgaris COMMON GROUNDSEL.
Smilacina stellata STAR-FLOWERED FALSE SOLOMON'S SEAL. In drier, wooded pathes only.
* Solandum dulcamara BITTER NIGHTSHADE. Has an affinity for this cobbly place.
Solanum nigrum BLACK NIGHTSHADE. Well developed here and there.
Solidago canadensis CANADA GOLDENROD. Abundant in patches in drier areas with Rubus odoratus.
Solidago graminifolia NARROW-LEAVED GOLDENROD. Infrequent, more toward the Horseshoe.
Sonchus arvensis FIELD SOW-THISTLE.
Sonchus asper SPINY-LEAVED SOW-THISTLE.
Sonchus oleraceus COMMON SOW THISTLE. By elevator.
* Stellaria media COMMON CHICKWEED.
Teucrium canadense AMERICAN GERMANDER. Abundant.
* Taraxacum officinale DANDELION. Scarce.
Verbascum thapsus COMMON MULLEIN. Rosette seen.
Verbena urticifolia WHITE VERVAIN. In flower, toward elevator area.
ALGAE (see discussion above):
Trentepolia sp. Red-orange alga, on rocks associated with the wooded patches.
Flammulina velutipes. WINTER MUSHROOM.
Polyporus squamosus. On old log. Nov. 1, 1988.
Collema tenax. On soil, Harris 16357 (NY).
Protoblastenia rupestris. On rock, Harris 22884 (NY).
Verrucaria muralis. On rock, Harris 22880 (NY); on rock, Harris 22883 (NY).
Verrucaria sp. Harris 16352 (NY).
Verrucaria sp. Harris 22881 (NY); Harris 22882 (NY).
Amblystegium serpens var. juratzkanum. Spray area of Horseshoe Falls, near river, thin soil over rocks, base of falls, with Fissidens cristatus, Zander 3475b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Amblystegium tenax. var. tenax. Base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16356 (BUF, NY).
Amblystegium varium. Base of Goat Island, spray zone of Horseshoe Falls, near river, soil under boulder, Zander 3478, Oct. 28, 1970 (BUF).
Barbula unguiculata. Spray area of American Falls, talus, midslope soil, trailside, Zander 3454a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Brachythecium rutabulum. Base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16359 (BUF, NY).
Bryum argenteum. Spray zone of American Falls, talus, midslope, pathside, thin soil, Zander 3452b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Calliergonella cuspidata. Base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16353 (BUF, NY), 16358 (NY).
Campylium chrysophyllum. Base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16360 (BUF, NY).
Campylium stellatum. Base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16362 (BUF, NY).
Ceratodon purpureus. Spray zone of American Falls, talus, midslope, pathside, thin soil, Zander 3452a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), Zander 3454c, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Cratoneuron filicinum. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, sandstone wall, Zander 3495a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), talus slope, dripping area, rocks, with Didymodon tophaceus. Zander 3493b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); spray area of American Falls, talus, wet rocks, Zander 3443a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), soil, trailside, Zander 3454b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); spray area of Horseshoe Falls, near river, thin soil, base of falls, Zander 3472, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16351 (BUF, NY), 16355 (BUF, NY), 16361 (BUF, NY); base of Goat Island, spray area of American Falls, talus, wet rocks, with Amblystegium varium, Zander 3442, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Didymodon fallax. Spray zone of American Falls, talus, midslope, pathside, thin soil, Zander 3451, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Didymodon tophaceus. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, on rubble, talus slope, Zander 3491a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), dripping area, rocks, Zander 3493, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF).
Encalypta procera. Spray area of American Falls, talus, crevices, rock piles along path, Zander 3450b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Fissidens adianthoides. Spray area of American Falls, talus, crevices, rock piles along path, Zander 3450a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); spray area of Horseshoe Falls, near river, underside of large boulder, Zander 3466a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), soil under boulder, Zander 3477, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF); base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16350 (BUF, NY); spray zone of American Falls, talus, soil over boulder, Zander 3448, Oct. 28 (BUF).
Fissidens cristatus. Spray zone of Horseshoe Falls, near river, thin soil over rocks, base of falls, with Amblystegium serpens var. juratzkanum, Zander 3475a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Fissidens grandifrons. Spray area of American Falls, talus, thin soil, crevices of rock, Zander 3445a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), with Hymenostylium recurvirostrum, Zander, 3444b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Hymenostylium recurvirostre. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, boulder, thin soil, midslope, with Tortella fragilis, Hyophila involuta, Trichostomum crispulum, Zander 3484d, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), on rubble, talus slope, Zander 3491b, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, vertical rock face of gorge, with Preissia quadrata, Zander 3492a, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF); spray area of Horseshoe Falls, near river, soil under boulder, Zander 3478, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF); spray zone of American Falls, talus, thin soil, crevices of rock, Zander 3444a, Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF); base of island, 1 Nov. 1988, Buck 16354 (BUF, NY).
On August 8, 1865, George Clinton recorded in his journal that this moss was "everywhere common on wet rocks" below the Biddle Staircase.
Hyophila involuta. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, boulder, thin soil, midslope, with Tortella fragilis, Hymenostylium recurvirostrum, Trichostomum crispulum, Zander 3484c Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF), Zander 3480, Oct. 28, 1970 (BUF); spray area of Horseshoe Falls, near river, thin soil in crevice of boulder, Zander 3469, Oct. 28, 1970 (BUF).
Preissia quadrata. Spray zone of Horseshoe Falls, near river, underside of large boulder, Zander 3467, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF); just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, vertical rock face of gorge, with Hymenostylium recurvirostum, Zander 3492b, Oct.28, 1979 (BUF).
George Clinton noted in his journal on August 8, 1865 "on wet, wettish rocks, at & above top of talus, everywhere here [at the American Staircase] & on Goat Island, below Biddle Staircase Preissia commutata [= P. quadrata], now past fruit, abundant."
Tortella fragilis. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, boulder, thin soil, midslope, with Hyophila involuta, Hymenostylium recurvirostrum, Trichostomum crispulum, Zander 3484b Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF).
Trichostomum crispulum. Just outside spray area of Horseshoe Falls, boulder, thin soil, midslope, with Hyophila involuta, Hymenostylium recurvirostrum, Tortella fragilis, Zander 3484a Oct. 28, 1979 (BUF). This species may be new to eastern North America.