Welcome to the Desert Herbarium!
This is a herbarium consisting of flora that grows in the desert. Unlike locations where water is abundant, the desert receives an average of less than 10 inches of rain annually. Combined with intense heat, deserts can be one of the harshest places for life to exist. Desert flora has evolved over millions of years to cope with such extremes. The pictures shown on this herbarium were collected by students and instructors of the Desert Communities class.
A click on the common name will take you to the plant's individual page where you will find pictures as well as descriptive information.
Common name Scientific name
Cactus family Cactaceae
Beavertail Cactus Opuntia basilaris *
Buckhorn Cholla Opuntia acanthocarpa*
Mojave Prickly Pear Opuntia erinacea
Cottontop Cactus Echinocactus polycephalus *
Saguaro Carnegia gigantea
Engelmann's Prickly Pear Opuntia engelmannii
Jumping Cholla Opuntia fulgida
Agave family Agavaceae
Joshua Tree Yucca brevifolia*
Desert Agave Agave deserti
Desert Spoon Daisylirion wheeleri
Giant Four-O'Clock Mirabilis multifora*
Bigelow Monkeyflower Mimulus bigelovii*
Desert Paintbrush Castilleja chromosa
Purple Owl's-Clover Castilleja exserta
Common Monkey-Flower Mimulus guttatus
Desert Chicory Rafinesquia neomexicana
New Mexico Thistle Cirsium neomexicanum
Brittlebush Encelia farinosa
Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens
Mexican Gold Poppy Eschscholzia californica
Desert Stork's-Bill Erodium texanum
Blue-Eyed Scorpion-Weed Phacelia distans
Yellow Desert Evening Primrose Oenothera primiveris
American-Mistletoe Phoradendron californicum
Fairy Duster Calliandra eriophylla
Green's Lotus Lotus greenei
Arizona Lupine Lupinus arizonicus
Catclaw Acacia Acacia greggii
American Vetch Vicia americana
Chia Salvia columbariae
Fiddleneck Amsinckia intermedia
Hopbush Dodonaea viscosa
Parish's Larkspur Delphinium parishii
Pointleaf Manzanita Arctostaphylos pungens
Arizona Sycamore Platanus wrightii
Emory Oak Quercus emoryi
Velvet Ash Fraxinus velutina
*Flora only found in the Mojave Desert
Click here to return to the Virtual Herbarium Home Page.
Alden, Peter, and Peter Friederici. Field Guide to the Southwestern States. New York: Chanticleer Press Inc., 1999.
Arnberger, Leslie P. Flowers of the Southwest Mountains. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1982.
Bowers, Emily. Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Deserts. Tucson: Western National Parks Association, 1993.
Dodge, Natt N. Flowers of the Southwest Deserts. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1985.
Elmore, Francis H. Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1976.
Epple, Anne O. A Field Guide to the Plants of Arizona. Guilford: Falcon, 1995.
Fischer, Pierre C. 70 Common Cacti of the Southwest. Tucson: Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1989.
Stewart, Jon M. Mojave Desert Wildflowers. Albuquerque: Jon Stewart Photography, 1998.
This site will be updated regularly, so please come back and visit often to see what has been added. Should you have questions, comments, praise, or criticism, please contact Laura.