Arizona has an extremely rich flora due to its diversity of altitudes and climate. It contains floristic associations ranging from sub-tropical to alpine with transitions zones between the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Mohave and Great Basin deserts. This rich flora, almost 4000 species of native plants, is unequalled by few other regions of the United States. For a complete discussion, read the Natural Vegetation of Arizona (10 pgs) in Arizona Soils by David M. Hendricks. Tucson, Ariz.: College of Agriculture, University of Arizona, 1985. This electronic copy was produced in February 2002 in part with grant funds provided by the Library Services and Technology Act.
The Arizona Flora, written by Kearney and Peebles, will soon be 50 years old and is taxonomically out of date. In 1987, a joint effort between the herbaria at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University organized experts to produce an updated “Vascular Plants of Arizona”. The group decided to publish each paper as it was completed so that botanists could have access to the new treatments. The treatments were first published in the Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science starting with Volume 26 (1) in 1992. Then in 2005, a new journal Canotia was initiated. Here floral treatments are now published online where they can be read or downloaded at the following link to the ASU Herbarium.
Flora of the Sonoran Desert Region
If you want to look up the flora of the Sonoran Desert Region or a number of subunits (including the Tucson Mountains), you can now access the lists at the ASDM website at http://www.desertmuseum.org/center/swbiodiversity.php.
While there, you can connect to the gigantic SEINet/Symbiota Project (http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/index.php), managed by a consortium of universities and nonprofits including ASDM. It compiles the data from an ever-growing number of Southwestern herbaria, and integrates it with other useful modules such as plant identification keys and educational programs. The Desert Museum has contributed two major components to the project: images of live plants from its digital library and the thesaurus of common names. (No other herbarium-based database that we know of includes common names. Nonbotanists can use Symbiota without learning Latin.)
Check out the very cool online tutorials to learn about the features found within the Symbiota network. Search for an unknown plant or make your own species list. Or just try them out because the animated tutorials are cool!!
More floras are available for purchase from the journal Desert Plants published by The University of Arizona for Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum. Special issues devoted to the flora of an area are routinely printed.
Why do those plant names keep changing? For a discussion of that topic from the California Native Plant Society, click here. For taxonomic changes following the most recent classification of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (APG III) for Arizona flora, see the list (2011.3) created by Joan Tedford. Although there is no one authority over plant taxonomy, these changes are widely accepted and the UA Herbarium has rearranged its collection of over 400,000 specimens to reflect this change.
Arizona Xerophytic Ferns contains a web-based identification guide of desert fern species. It contains an introduction, a discussion of adaptations and then photos of ferns found in Arizona.
A Key for the nine species of Selaginella Subgenus Tetragonostachys found in Arizona requires the use of a microscope with measurement in the field of view. For definitions of terms, click here for a glossary.
An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS by Kittie F. Parker with drawings by Lucretia Breazeale Hamilton is now on the web. This classic resource, originally assembled from 1958 Agriculture Extension bulletins, is now in its 5th printing.
The Grasses of Las Cienega National Conservation Area has been assembled by The Nature Conservancy. Herbarium specimens of over 50 grasses were scanned to create images that can be copied or can be examined in detail by using the zoom feature of your computer.
The Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program was established to promote and preserve botanical illustrations of the Sonoran Desert Region. The goal is to collect, exhibit and archive the historical, contemporary and future botanical art of this region and eventually establish a collection of botanical art of the Sonoran Desert Region. The project is sponsored by the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society and contributions are tax-deductable. For more details, click here for the Florilegium Program brochure. For a contribution form, click here.
A provisional key for identification of the Eriastrums of Arizona has been written by Sarah De Groot of the Santa Ana Botanic Garden. This genus in the Phlox family is represented in Arizona by E. diffusum (miniature woollystar) and E. erimicum (desert woollystar). She is interested in feedback on how the key works in the field. She would like to know if there are terms that are still confusing or unclear. The key for species and subspecies of Eriastrum occurring in Arizona has been extracted from the upcoming treatment of Eriastrum for the Flora of North America. Click here to download the key.
This site, maintained by Lee Dittman, contains a listing of species of Northern Arizona wild plants (both native and non-native). So far, 271 of the approximately 2500 species, subspecies, and varieties are represented by images.
This database was created by Master Gardener volunteers and contains photos and descriptions of over 150 native plants found in Yavapai County
Doug Von Gausig maintains this website. Verde Valley is defined as the area along the Verde River from its confluence with Sycamore Creek in the north, west to Mingus and Woodchute Mountains, south to Camp Verde and east to Sedona. The towns included in this area are Jerome, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Cornville, Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma/Beaver Creek and Sedona.
Wupatki National Monument is 12 miles north of Flagstaff. This list, assembled by Steve McLaughlin, includes plant families and names of plants in Latin, providing common names when available (4 pgs).
This report of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument vegetation was produced by the USGS in June 1992. This National Monument is located in Pinal County, 9 miles west of Florence. The list of native flora is contained on pages 14-20. Interesting comparisons of historic photos shows evidence of vegetative change from 1928-1941 to 1987 (46 pgs).
The Vascular Plant Flora of the Eagletail Mountains region submitted by Douglas Newton in partial fulfillment of a M.S. degree from Arizona State University. The flora includes an evaluation of the climate, geology, soils, and prehistoric usage of the region, an area covering approximately 100,600 acres, located in west-central Arizona that includes the Eagletail Mountains, Granite Mountains, portions of the Harquahala Valley, and Cemetery Ridge near Clanton Well. Plants were collected over a six-year period, beginning September, 2004 and ending May, 2010. A total of 702 collections were made covering 292 species that represented 63 families.
The Vascular Flora of the Hummingbird Springs Wilderness, Maricopa County, AZ was published in CANOTA:Vol 7. A total of 270 species were collected belonging to 64 families, including 199 genera.(27 pgs.)
This inventory of the San Tan Mountains Regional Park was published in October 2007. It was produced by the Arizona State University as part of the Canotia series (Vol 3, Issue3) which is included in the Vascular Plants of Arizona project. This park, part of the Maricopa County Park System, is located southeast of Phoenix (28 pg).
In this web list, plant families are listed alphabetically with hyperlinks to many individual plants. The Seven Springs Region lies in the northwestern region of Tonto National Forest in Maricopa County just north of Cave Creek.
This report of Tonto National Monument flora was produced by the USGS in August 1995. The list of native flora is contained in Appendix 3 (pages 72-104). Interesting comparisons of historic photos shows evidence of change from 1929-1960s to the 1990's (132 pgs).
This site, maintained by T. Beth Kinsey, features photographs and descriptions of the wildflowers of Tucson and Pima County. Currently, there are 467 different species of Tucson, Arizona wildflowers and other plants in this collection. Tucson has a wide variety of flowering plants due to its climate, topography, varied habitats and its location in the biologically diverse Sonoran Desert.
Ajo Peaks to Tinajas Altas: A Flora of Southwestern Arizona Part 5:Monocots except grasses. A floristic account is provided for the eleven monocot families except the grass family as part of the vascular plant flora of the contiguous protected areas of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Tinajas Altas Region in southwestern Arizona(59 pgs).
The Baboquivari Mountains are located southwest of Tucson on the eastern border of the Tohono O'odham Reservation south of Ajo Highway (Hwy 86). This plant list is an appendix from Baboquivari Mountain Plants: Identification, Ecology and Ethnobotany by Dr. Daniel F. Austin (2010) Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press. This is a preliminary list because there are added species being found regularly within the mountain ranges.(30 pgs.)
The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is located west and adjacent to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The Cabeza Prieta Natural History Association maintains an educational website with detailed information about native plants (473 species), animals and geology. There are simple search pages to assist in identification of unknown desert plants.
Catalina State Park offers the visitors the opportunity to see typical desert plants species in addition to many that are associated with higher elevations. This list updated in 2013.04 by Joan Tedford includes plants unique the region. (14 pgs).
Empire Mountains are located between the Santa Rita and Rincon mountain ranges, and are bordered on the west by the upper reaches of Davidson Canyon, which holds a major seasonally-dry stream. They are a botanical crossroads located in the transition between Sonoran desert upland and desert grassland, Chihuahuan desert scrub, and Madrean evergreen woodland.
This report of Fort Bowie National Historic Site flora was produced by the USGS in March 1992. Eleven vegetative associations found in the area are described. A total of 470 species are identified (pgs 41-76). The report included an index of species by common names (p 80-83). (85 pgs).
The Vascular Plant and Vertebrate Inventory of Fort Bowie National Historical Site A second report was published by the USGS in December 2006. The plant inventory is in Appendix A. (80 pgs)
This list first published in 1996 and updated in 2009 includes more than 20 years of fieldwork with contributions from M. Dimmitt, T.Van Devender, and A.L. Reina G
This list first published in 2001 and updated in 2009 includes more than 20 years of fieldwork with contributions from M. Dimmitt, T.Van Devender, and A.L. Reina G
(13 pgs.) For much more about the biological survey of the Monument, visit this site at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum.
This study, updated by John Wiens in 2009, includes more than 20 years of fieldwork with contributions from M. Dimmitt, T.Van Devender, and A.L. Reina G. (11 pgs.)
This list was prepared by the Botany Department of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for King Canyon (4 pgs).
Las Cienega National Conservation Area Grass Guide (64 pgs, 8MB) has been assembled by The Nature Conservancy. Herbarium specimens of over 50 grasses were scanned to create images that can be copied or can be examined in detail by using the zoom feature of your computer. Watch for updated versions of this guide at The Nature Conservancy AZ Science website.
An alphabetical list of common names indicating where and when seen (4 pgs).
Madera Canyon is in the Coronado National Forest 40 miles south of Tucson. This list of common names by plant type and the families includes Latin names (13 pgs).
An updated (2013.04) plant list where plants are listed by family and Latin and common names, indicating where they are found (19 pgs).
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument allows the life of the Sonoran Desert to flourish under nearly ideal wilderness conditions. The plants in this list are sorted by family, by scientific and then common name. (17 pgs.)
A Checklist of Vascular Plants for the contiguous protected areas of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and the Tinajas Atlas, AZ was produced in CANOTIA:Vol 8:2012. (53 pgs.)
The Pinaleno Mountains are a group of "Sky Islands" north of Willcox. Due to their location, they are a mix of Rocky Mountain and Madrean species. According to The Nature Conservancy, they traverse five ecological communities and contain "the highest diversity of habitats of any mountain range in North America." The Flora of the Pinaleno Mountains is 22 pages long.
Vascular Plants of Pima County
This tool lists native plants found during surveys in each Township and Range. The lists are not comprehensive, but are particularly useful for identifying what native plants grew in areas now developed. The lists are based on native plant clearance surveys conducted by William T. Kendall.
A Species Distribution Listing for Township 13 South, Range 15 East (274 pgs) has been assembled and maintained by William T. Kendall (updated July 10, 2013).Catalina Mountain Foothills and Lower Sabino Canyon included in this township.
A Species Distribution Listing for Township 13 South, Range 14 East (249 pgs) has been assembled and maintained by William T. Kendall (updated Aug 24, 2012). The University of Rillito, George Mehl Foothills and Fort Lowell Parks and the Campbell Avenue Farm are located in this township.
A Species Distribution Listing for Township 13 South, Range 16 East (326 pgs) has been assembled and maintained by William T. Kendall (updated Aug 17, 2012). Agua Caliente/Roy P. Drachman Regional Park is included in this township.
A Species Distribution Listing for Township 14 South, Range 13 East (486 pgs) has been assembled and maintained by William T. Kendall (updated May 8, 2013). Downtown Tucson, Sentinel Peak and Tumamoc Hill are located in this township. In this same area, here is an updated J.J. Thornber 1909 listing of plants included in the "Vegetation Groups of the Desert Laboratory Domain" (299 pgs)
Pima County Listing of Native Plants by Family and Genus
This list has been developed as an aid to locating species in the township listings. In the Species Distribution Lists, the families, genera and species are organized in alphabetical order by scientific name. The following families and genera have been recorded as being native to Pima County. At this time this list does not include all of the native genera on record as occurring in Pima County.
Pima County Plant Listing
This is a list of all plants known to occur in the natural environment of Pima County as prepared for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan. All are native unless marked "exotic" in the right-hand column.
The Sabino Canyon Recreational Area of the Coronado National Forest is located in northeastern Tucson at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. This list, prepared by Joan Tedford for the Volunteer Naturalists, includes all of lower Sabino Canyon, the main roads and the Phone Line Trail (14 pgs-updated 2013.04).
This report of Saguaro National Park flora was produced by the USGS in October 2000. This publication brings together information from four different studies conducted from 1992-1996 into a single volume. (61 pgs)
This field guide (231 MB pdf, 108 pages) was created by Sue Carnahan. She photographed the flowers in Salero Ranch east of Tubac during the spring and summer of 2010. The plants are arranged by color, then family and then scientific name. An index is found on the last two pages. She hopes to improve the project on a regular basis. She welcomes corrections and suggestions.
This website contains 270 species, including 186 native species, listed by family, Latin names and growth form. The list was updated in May 2007. (7pgs)
This study, Biological Values of the West Branch of the Santa Cruz River, reported that this region is the least degraded containing the highest biodiversity of the SCR floodplain near Tucson. The survey published in October 2001 includes the Plant List with 152 species in 37 families in pages 46-64.(70pgs)
The Sonoran Desert National Monument was established in 2001 because of its rich diversity of plant and animal species. This report, Biological Resources of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, contains a flora with 402 species in 260 genera and 71 families(pp39-96). (124 pgs)
The Chiricahua National Monument is located about 120 miles southeast of Tucson. This document contains a checklist and description of the Trees and Shrubs and it is followed by two lists of Herbaceous Plants at the medium and high elevations (10 pgs).
This report was produced by the USGS in October 1996. A total of 1261 Chiricahua taxa are presented in the list, including lengthy discussions of geology, soils, climate and vegetative types. The vegetation contains floral elements of the Sonoran and Chiricahuan deserts. (234 pgs.)
In this web list, plant families are listed alphabetically with hyperlinks to many individual plants. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) is located among the "sky islands"of southeastern Arizona, a region of considerable environmental heterogeneity and biological diversity.
This list, compiled by Nancy Stallcup, surveys Garden Canyon which is on the military reservation of Fort Huachuca in the Huachuca Mountain Range of Cochise County near Sierra Vista (9 pages).