Little Rock Audubon Center

Nepheline Syenite Glade

Audubon Arkansas protects a globally rare ecosystem.
Nepheline Syenite Glade Photo: Eric Hunt

Nepheline syenite glades exist only Pulaski and Saline counties and no where else in the world. The Little Rock Audubon Center protects two of these rare glades, and the plants and animals that live there.

What is a Nepheline Syenite Glade?

A glade is an opening in the woods where bedrock is at the surface. In this case that bedrock is nepheline syenite, a gray igneous rock that resembles granite. Nepheline syenite is found around the world, but its glades occur only in Arkansas. Because the soil is thin to absent, and conditions are dry for most of the year, trees can’t grow within a glade. Grasses and wildflowers grow where there is sufficient soil. Mosses and lichens grow on the rocks. The rare Small-headed Pipewort, a tiny flowering plant, grows on larger outcroppings.

Check out this panoramic view of a glade opening.

Slideshow

Flowers of the Nepheline Syenite Glades
Glade flowers

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