Tucson Chapter

President:  Ries Lindley, email  

Treasurer: Diane Kelly, email                        

Secretary: Liz Fairchild, email                     

Chapter meetings and evening programs are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from August through June , beginning at 7:00 pm. Our monthly meetings are held at the City of Tucson Ward 6 Office, 3202 East 1st Street, south of Speedway Boulevard and east of Country Club Road.

Look for the AZNPS sign board. We often have raffles for native plants or related books at each meeting, so be prepared! Download our 2013-2014 Speaker Schedule by clicking here.

For information about the Tucson Chapter, please contact Ries Lindley.

New PAPAZ Site: Salero Ranch in Santa Cruz County
Come help explore and collect on a privately owned, 20,000-acre ranch in Santa Cruz County. Sandwiched between the Santa Rita Mountains to the north and Sonoita Creek State Natural Area to the south, Salero Ranch lies in diverse desert grassland habitat, with seasonal riparian areas, mountain canyons, and oak woodland also well represented. Elevations range from 3900 to 5300 feet. The Salero has been actively ranched since the late 1800s, but the current owners run only about 200 head of cattle. There are also 19 private homes scattered across the landscape. Because of the Salero's private status, there were only 5 herbarium collections prior to the start of this PAPAZ project. If you are interested in helping with this project, or for more information, contact Sue Carnahan by email or 520-591-0740. Collecting dates and times TBD.
 We have winners!! Who? Click here.
The Tucson Chapter of AZNPS has teamed up with Tucson Clean and Beautiful and the Southern Arizona Environmental Management Society,
Inc. to provide grants of $100 - $500 for teachers to enhance environmental education in our schools.
The more information and application form is available here.

Sonoran Desert Plants: Seasonal Flowering Schedules

based on 20 years of data from 1966-1985 by William G. McGinnies.


Join Our Chapter E-list:  If you would like to receive reminders and announcements about field trips and meetings via e-mail, send a note to Andrew Cordery to be added to the list. Stay informed by joining us on Facebook.


Save the Watermans

AZNPS has been leading an effort to eradicate buffelgrass from the Waterman Mountains. We have removed all major patches and are now scouting for remote patches and mopping up all buffelgrass toeholds that we come across. This work is a great opportunity to hike in a pristine area amidst Nichols Turkshead cacti and Elephant trees. We go out on weekdays and weekends, depending on volunteer availability, for 3-4 hours per trip.
If you are interested, please contact John Scheuring at

Santa Cruz River Work Days

The restoration site north of Cortaro Road is looking great: All of our trees and shrubs are becoming well established. Upcoming work days will focus on removing buffelgrass and other invasive plants and seeding areas that have been cleared. Check out the Facebook Photo Album. For a photo report showing the history of the work at the site, click here.
Contact Marilyn Hanson for details.

Weed Warrior Activities

1) Sonoran Desert Weedwackers, Tucson Mountain Park work, third Saturday of each month. To volunteer, contact Marilyn Hanson by email.
2) Sonoran Desert Weedwackers, Saguaro National Park East work the second Saturday of each month, meeting at the Visitor Center of the Rincon Mt. District. To volunteer, contact their coordinator by email.
3) Oro Valley Buffel Busters work the second Saturday of each month. For more info, contact Carmen Ryan, 229-5070.


Saturday, August 16, 2014: AZNPS Wildflower Walk in Madera Canyon

For the third year in a row, the eminent naturalist Doug Moore led 14 members of AZNPS to the Carrie Nation Mine in the Santa Ritas. Click here for photos now posted on Facebook of the flowers seen on the hike. Midway up the trail, the group saw the biggest spread of red cinquefoils they had seen in their lifetimes.

Saturday, March 29, 2014: Selaginella and Ferns of the Catalinas

Fifteen people traveled up the Catalina Highway to learn more about the local ferns and Selaginella species. Dr. Michael Barker discussed the evolution and genetics of ferns and Selaginella at Molina Basin Overlook along Catalina Highway. Anthony Baniaga pointed out three different Selaginella species and ten fern species at different locations along the highway. We explored canyons where there were pools and running water. For a photo report, click here to see Sue Carnahan's photo collection which includes photos of the flowering plants as well.

Anthony explains how to ID fern species. He measures the fronds to determine species.

Pellaea truncata is tucked under a boulder. Three participants study ferns.

August 22-24, 2013: Chiricahua Workshop-Southwestern Research Station

This year’s August field trip to the Chiricahua Mountains yielded over 200 species to 21 participants, who hailed from four different chapters. The bloom was richest in the high altitudes, but field trip diversity included plants from the high Chihuahuan desert to the montane forest at the top of the mountain range. Explorers spent an entire morning just ferreting out plants of the Paradise cemetery. Generous assistance was provided by area residents P.D. Hulce, leading the trip to his private paradise in the mouth of Horseshoe Canyon, and by Dave Jasper who lead the trip on the gorgeous upper trail at Rustler’s Park. Elaine Moisan led a great trip to the Paradise Cemetery on that sunny and wonderful last day. The Southwestern Research Station provided great accommodations, delicious food, a lovely picnic area for wine sipping and a lab for the plant ID workshop.
For the list of species seen, click here. Sue Carnahan's photo collection is here. Ries's photo album is here.
A group picture taken from the Crest Trail above Rustler's Park.


    Blue grama                             Bisbee beehive cactus              Cardinal catchfly



March 1-3, 2014, Wildflower Foray to Tinajas Altas


The Tinaja Altas (High Tanks) is located in southwestern Arizona 65 km ESE of Yuma, and only 6 km N of the Sonora border. The Tinajas Altas Mountains are the southeastern extension of the Gila Mountains. Tinajas Altas was always a crucial water source for travelers along the Camino del Diablo, especially during the gold rush of 1849. Many unfortunate travelers were buried in stone covered graves on the nearby Mesa de los Muertos.




Left. Tinajas Altas. Chip Hedgcock taking photos. View to the east. Photos by Ana L. Reina-G.


In the early 1980s, Tom Van Devender and paleoecologists from the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill visited Tinajas Altas to collect ancient packrat middens. Plant remains from 21 radiocarbon dated midden assemblages provided a record of the vegetation in this area for the last 43,200 years! During the last glacial period (the Wisconsin), a pinyon-juniper woodland with singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla), California juniper (Juniperus californica), and Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) was present. The lowest elevation record for the pinyon in the Pleistocene was 430 m in a Tinajas Altas sample dated at 11,040 B.P. Sonoran desertscrub became dominate about 8,900 years ago, although the modern dominants foothills paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla) and ironwood (Olneya tesota) did not return until about 4,000 years ago.


A 14,000 year old packrat midden from Burro Canyon in the Kofa Mountains. Singleleaf pinyon needles and juniper twigs and seeds are visible. Photo by Tom Van Devender.


On March 1-3, 2014 Tom and Ana Lilia Reina-G. led an Arizona Native Plant Society group of 25 people from Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Y Junction to Tinajas Altas. This part of Arizona had very good winter rains, and the landscape was in flower. The yellow flowers of brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) and red flowers of chuparrosa (Justicia californica) colored the landscape. Nearly 150 species of plants were seen at Tinajas Altas, Tinajas Altas Pass, desert flats east of Raven Butte along the road to Wellton, the Mohawk Dunes, etc. The birders on the group were able to record 37 species of birds. Some lucky participants were treated to a pair bighorns –mother and lamb on a high cliff at sunset. The observations and images will go into the MABA database, available for use by land managers in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range.




Tom Van Devender and ANPS participants. Brittlebush and Ajo lily flowers (Hesperocallis undulata). Photos by Ana L. Reina-G.



Bighorn sheep ewe and lamb in Tinajas Altas Pass. Photo by Linda McNulty.


Tinajas Altas Snail

Tinajas Altas was a crucial water source along the Camino del Diablo for travelers during the gold rush. In 1849, a man named Frick, presumably in route to California, collected some land snails at Tinajas Altas. The same year Wesley Newcomb, New York physician and amateur malacologist, traveled to San Francisco. Sixteen years later, he described the Tinajas Altas snails as Helix rowelli, probably the first terrestrial land snail known from Arizona. The snail was later called Sonorella rowelli (1904) and today is Eremarionta rowelli, the eastern desertsnail.

Sonorella and Eremariodonta are air-breathing land snails that are well known for having species with small geographic ranges. The San Xavier Talussnail (S. eremita) is only known from a deep, limestone rockslide in Pima County, Arizona, and is protected by a Conservation Agreement between El Paso Natural Gas Company, Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Saracachi talussnail (S. aguafriensis) is only known from Arroyo Santo Domingo near Rancho Agua Fria and the Saracachi Ciénega southeast of Magdalena, Sonora.

Tinajas Altas is in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, administered by the U.S. Marine Corp. The eastern desertsnail was first found 165 years ago, and current management will insure its survival.



Photo by Charles Hedgcock.



March 24, 2013: Meg Quinn Wildflowers in the Tortolitas

Meg Quinn led a full field trip on a wildflower walk in Wild Burro Canyon where there was
an impressive spring wildflower display this week. For a photo report, check out Sue Carnahan's photo album here.
Emmenanthe penduliflora, yellow whispering bells/ Eriastrum diffusum, miniature woollystar


Saturday, March 9, 2013 Pima Pineapple Cactus Mitigation Site

Who knew a bad year could be so much fun? Despite the dry year, the cold weather, and the surprise storm from nowhere, there are plants to be ogled and ecology to be pondered. Iris Rodden, Conservation Biologist with Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation, led seven very interested botanizers on a fact-filled tour of a Pima Pineapple Cactus (PPC) mitigation site. The year has been a tough one for spring bloomers, yet there are still some to be found. In addition to PPC, field-trippers got to know some of those little belly-crawler plants like Pectocarya, bladderpod, and micro-versions of Mexican poppy. There was also plenty of informative discourse on plant ecology and the history of the mitigation site itself.
Tucson Chapter Budding Botanists                          Consulting over a Pima Pineapple Cactus

 Coryphantha robustispina                          Lepidium sp.                    Lesquerella gordonii

February 23- 25, 2013 El Pinacate Botany Field Trip

Sixteen members of AZNPS took a spring field trip to the Pinacates, led by Tom & Ana Lilia van Devender and Pinau Merlin. They explored the west side of the Pinacates for three days. They recorded 127 plant taxa. For a more detailed report, click here.
For photo reports, check out Sue Carnahan's Flickr accounts. Photos are arranged from newest to oldest.
Robert Villa's photos for this 2013 Pinacate Trip on his Facebook page.

Saturday, January 26: Kino Ecological Restoration Project (KERP)

Eight hardy plant people joined Julia Fonseca on a rainy walk within a local stormwater detention basin to look for spring annuals.  Although the annuals were minute in size, Jonathan Horst was able to add Lesquerella gordonii to the plant list, using only the cotyledons and one leaf for identification!  This was a species that had been in the original seed mix for the Kino Ecosystem Restoration Project.  Jonathan also found Matthiola parviflora, a recently arrived non-native annual that John has studied previously.  The group saw three coyotes, a green heron and stormwater capture in action after the sky opened up in a downpour!
BELOW:Julia Fonseca providing an overview.

Walking along the revegged wetland.

October 26, 2012: Grass ID In Tucson Mountain Park

On October 26 Tucson AZNPS members went on a fantastic field trip with the incomparable Meg Quinn, desert botanist extraordinaire. Meg distributed a plant list of grass species in Tucson Mountain Park. She led us through several little known roadside and desert wash spots in Tucson Mountain Park. Focusing just on native grasses, we managed to check off thirty species ! We all agreed that grasses are poorly known by Arizona plant enthusiasts. For photos of the field trip, visit Michael McNulty's site.
BELOW:  Meg Quinn with native grass   Tanglehead (Heteropogon contortus)

BELOW:Spider grass (Aristida ternipes)      AZ Cottontop (Digitaria californica)

August 31-Sept. 2, 2012:  Botany Trip/Workshop in the Chiricauhuas

The Tucson and Cochise Chapters sponsored a three-day field trip to the Chiricahua Mountains over Labor Day Weekend.  The event, which we hope will re-establish an AZNPS tradition of holding an annual extended field trip to the Chiricahua Mountains, was held at the Southwestern Research Station in Portal. The group explored the Ash Spring Trail and Barfoot Park. Native plant presentations were held in the evening. For a more detailed report of the trip, click here. For a photo report, click here.

Barfoot Park, Chiricahua Mountains

September 8, 2012: Lower Madera Canyon Walk with Doug Moore

On an overcast day, Doug Moore, Education Director for the Friends of Madera Canyon, started at the Proctor Road trailhead pointing out flowering plants, grasshoppers and caterpillars. We hiked through the grasslands, the mesquite bosque and then up through the interior riparian forest and the oak/pine woodlands. Arizona Sunflower, Tithonia thurberii, was commonly seen with butterflies nectaring. The group saw a total of 20 different butterflies including a couple of Monarchs. We also saw more caterpillars and grasshoppers than we could keep track of!
                                                                        Mentzelia isolata

Dull firetip on AZ Sunflower     Western Imperial Moth Caterpillar   AZ Sunflower

March 25, 2012: Ragged Top Flora Diversity Wash Walk with John Wiens

We revisited the fabulous Ragged Top "flora diversity wash" with ASDM botanist John Wiens, who had inventoried 153 species there 10 years in a short quarter mile section. On this year's hike, John helped us identify 140 species! One of the AZNPS hikers was a Latin-Greek scholar (John Kuhner) who was able to give the exact translation of the genus and species names. This was quite a treat for all of us
For Sue Carnahan's Photo Report, click here.

Group consult!!                           Echinocereus nicholii/Golden HH

Euphorbia arizonicus                      Krameria sp.

Androsace occidentalis                     Delphinium scaposum

March 3, 4, and 5, 2012: Field Trip to El Pinacate

Members of Arizona Native Plant Society enjoyed three days and two nights traveling in the company of Tom Van Devender, Ana Lilia Van Devender, and Mark Dimmitt to tour the spectacular El Pinacate of northern Sonora. The biosphere reserve offers a surprising number of plant communities in a very dry and seasonally variable climate. Carpets of Cryptantha in one area yielded to carpets of Plantago in another. Fellow campers were treated to blue sand lily (Triteleiopsis palmeri), Ajo lily (Hesperocallis undulate), as well as other treats like Echinocactus polycephalus. Camp life was rich, with one camper providing concert-quality violin music and the local northern mockingbird performing its all-night renditions of unlikely birds like white-breasted nuthatch.
Click for Tom Van Devender's Plant Report, Pinau Merlin's Animal Report and another field trip report from Tom Van Devender.
Go to Michael McNulty's album of the trip and Ries Lindley's Pinacate Trip for more pictures. Sue Carnahan has an extensive photo report of the flora.