Anomalously high manganese-to-iron ratios occurring in pine needles and sage leaves over the Recluse oil field, Wyoming, suggest effects of petroleum microseepage on the plants. This conclusion is supported by iron and manganese concentrations in soils and carbon and oxygen isotope ratios in rock samples. Seeping hydrocarbons provided reducing conditions sufficient to enable divalent iron and manganese to be organically complexed or adsorbed on solids in the soils. These bound or adsorped elements in the divalent state are essential to plants, and the plants readily assimilate them. The magnitude of the plant anomalies, combined with the supportive isotopic and chemical evidence confirming petroleum leakage, makes a strong case for the use of plants as a biogeochemical prospecting tool.