Desert Plants

Cactus - Grasses - Shrubs - Trees - Wildflowers

Desert Wildflowers

How Do Plants Survive the Desert? -- Desert flora have adapted to the extremes of heat and aridity by using both physical and behavioral mechanisms, much like desert animals. The ingenuity and variety of these many adaptations are explored in Desert Plant Survival and the Desert Food Chain. Below are links to the flora found in the deserts, with photos and information about each plant.

Quick Links by Type of Plant

| Cactus & Succulents | Trees, Shrubs, Grasses

Wildflower Articles| Related Information | Desert Gardening

What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports


Alkali Mariposa Lily

Alkali Phacelia

Antelope Bush

Apache Plume

Arizona Poppy

Asian Mustard

Aven Nelson's Phacelia

Beautiful Centaury (Canchalagua)

Big Sagebrush

Bigelow's Monkeyflower

Bitter Root

Blacktack Phacelia


Blazing Star

Blue Phacelia

Blue Eyed Grass

Blue Flax

Booth's Sun Cup

Bristly Langloisia


Broad-Leaf Aliciella

Broad-Leaf Gilia

Brown-Eyed Evening Primrose

Burrobush, Burro Weed

Button Brittlebush

Button Encelia

California Buckeye

California Fuschia

California Milkweed

California Poppy

Caltha-leafed Phacelia

Canaigre Dock

Canterbury Bells

Caterpillar Phacelia

Cave Primrose

Chaparral Mallow

Charlotte's Phacelia

Charming Centaury (Canchalagua)

Checker Fiddleneck

Cheesebush, Burrobrush



Chinese Parsley

Chocolate Drops



Clustered Broom-Rape

Cold-desert Phlox

Common Muilla

Common Yellow Monkeyflower

Cooper's Dogweed

Coulter's Jewelflower

Coyote Melon

Cream Cups

Crimson Columbine

Crowned Muilla

Daisy Desertstar


Death Valley Monkeyflower

Desert Bitterbrush

Desert Bluebells

Desert Broom Rape

Desert Candle

Desert Chicory

Desert Christmas Tree

Desert Dandelion

Desert Five-Spot

Desert Globemallow

Desert Holly

Desert Indian Paintbrush

Desert Indian Tobacco

Desert Larkspur

Desert Lily

Desert Lupine

Desert Marigold

Desert Mariposa Lily

Desert Milkweed

Desert Peach

Desert Primrose

Desert Paintbrush

Desert Penstemon

Desert Pincushion

Desert Poppy

Desert Purple Mat

Desert Sage

Desert Spring Parsley

Desert Star

Desert Star-Vine

Desert Sunflower

Desert Willow

Devil's Lettuce


Downy Dalea

Devil’s Claw

Dune Evening Primrose

Dunes Sunflower

Eaton Firecracker, Eaton Penstemon

Fairy Duster


Flaxleaf Monardella

Freckled Milkvetch

Fremont's Monkeyflower

Fremont's Phacelia

Filaree Storksbill

Fringed Amaranth

Fringed Onion

Ghost Flower

Golden Desert Snapdragon

Gooding's Verbena

Gray Ball Sage

Gravel Ghost

Great Basin Woollystar

Ground Cherry

Hairy Wild Cabbage

Heartleaf Sun Cup

Hooker's Evening Primrose

Hop Sage

Hummingbird Trumpet

Indian Paintbrush

Indian Tobacco


Jimson Weed (POISONOUS)

Kelso Creek Monkeyflower

Lacy Phacelia

Layne Locoweed

Lobeleaf Groundsel

Loco Weed

Mariposa Lily

Martin's Paintbrush

Mexican Whorled Milkweed

Miner's Lettuce

Mojave Aster

Mojave Beardtongue

Mojave Hole-in-the-Sand Plant

Mojave Indian Paintbrush

Mojave Indigo Bush

Mojave Monkeyflower

Mojave Prickly Poppy

Mojave Sun Cup

Narrow Leaf Milkweed

Nevada Onion

Notch-leaved Phacelia

Owl's Clover (Castilleja exserta ssp. exserta)


Palmer's Penstemon

Panamint Daisy

Panamint Mariposa Lily

Paperbag Bush

Parish's Monkeyflower

Parry's Nolina (Parry's Beargrass)

Pedicellate Phacelia

Pink Phlox

Plantago patagonica

Plummer's Mariposa Lily

Poodle Dog Bush

Popcorn Flower

Prickly Poppies

Prince's Rock Cress

Purple Mat, Purplemat

Purple Owl's Clover (Castilleja exserta ssp. venusta)

Purple Sand Food

Pygmy Poppy

Rattlesnake Weed


Red Maids

Rock Cress

Rock Daisy

Rose Heath

Round Leafed Phacelia, Roundleaf Phacelia

Rush Milkweed

San Bernardino Mountains Liveforever

Sand Blazing Star

Sand Pygmyweed

Sand Verbena

Sapphire Woollystar

Scale Bud

Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant

Scarlet Bugler


Sea Muilla

Shockley Evening Primrose

Showy Four O'Clock

Showy Milkweed

Silky Dalea

Skeleton Milkweed

Soft Prairie Clover

Spanish Needle

Specter Phacelia

Suksdorf's Monkeyflower

Tree Poppy

Tree Tobacco

Turtleback, Velvet Turtleback

Twining Snapdragon

Washoe Phacelia

Western Desert Penstemon

Western Wallflower

Western Forget-Me-Not

White Bear Poppy

White Bursage

White Fiesta Flower

White Mallow

White Sage

White Wooly Daisy

Whitemargin Beardtongue, White-margined Beardtongue

Wild Heliotrope

Wild Rhubarb

Winding Mariposa Lily

Wishbone Bush

Woody Bottle Washer

Woolly Daisy

Woolly Marigold

Yellow Beeplant

Yellow Cups

Yellow Desert Evening Primrose

Yellow Nightshade

Yellow Pincushion

Yerba Mansa

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Barrel Cactus

Beavertail Cactus

Century Plant

Chain Fruit Cholla

Cholla Cactus

Claret Cup Cactus

Desert Christmas Cactus


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Video available on this subject. Indicates video available on this subject. Video available on this subject.


Bastard Toadflax

Crucifixion Thorn

California Fan Palm



Creosote Bush

Desert Lavender

Desert Willow

Elephant Tree


Indigo Bush

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Gardening the Desert in Southern New Mexico

How to Attract Hummingbirds and Butterflies to Your Garden

My Brown Thumb: Attempts at Gardening in the Desert

Why is the Desert Turning Brown: Overseeding



Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

The Arboretum at Flagstaff

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Arboretums & Botanical Gardens of Arizona




Arboretum at Arizona State University

Tohono Chul Park in Tucson

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum


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When Will the Wildflowers Bloom?

Favorite Desert Wildflowers

4 Drives into the Heart of the Desert

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Desert Food Chain Video available on this subject.

Plant Classifications

Desert Landscapes

Indian Uses of Desert Plants

Indian Uses of Desert Plants (book)

Desert Medicinal Plants

Desert Fan Palm Oases

Arboretums & Gardens of Arizona

The Saguaro Video available on this subject.

Desert Cacti

Three Desert Oases

On the Trail of the Cresosote Bush

Desert Varnish

The Desert's Lichen Crust


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Plants that heal


Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...

What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports



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LifeStraw Sport Bottle


Rockhound books


cactusThe Saguaro Video
The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet.

The Desert Food ChainDesert Food Chain Video
A food chain constitutes a complex network of organisms, from plants to animals, through which energy, derived from the sun, flows in the form of organic matter and dissipates in the form of waste heat.

Prickly Pear Cactus Video
Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest. Most prickly pears have large spines on their stems and vary in height from less than a foot to 6 or 7 feet.

Wildflower field guide - find the flowers by color

Purple & Blue Flowers

Pink, Red, & Orange Flowers

Yellow & Gold Flowers

White Flowers | Guide

wildflower seeds

Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

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