June 12, 2017

Plant Life Near the Grand Canyon


Who visits the Grand Canyon and notices the plants?


Last summer, we took a road trip out west for a family reunion, and stopped at notable landmarks along the way. When we were waiting to meet up with cousins to view the Grand Canyon, I photographed a few of the plants outside the visitor center.

Honestly, I find native plant life fascinating wherever I go. (I'm assuming most gardeners, naturalists, and plant enthusiasts do?) Many of the plants were marked with informative markers, which was helpful.

pink cloud
Fallugia paradoxa

My favorite plant of the lot was Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa), which I posted about back in July 2016. Others included:

wax currant
Ribes cereum

Wax Currant (Ribes cereum), with tiny maple-shaped leaves and red berries, traditionally used in jams, jellies, and pemmican.

white fir
Abies concolor

White Fir (Abies concolor), a large, lovely specimen with flat, curved needles and upright 3-5 inch cones.

Achillea millefolium

Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), caged and apparently delicious to the local wildlife.

cactus squirrel

Speaking of wildlife, a very brave squirrel put life and limb in danger to gnaw on a patch of cacti.

Opuntia polyacantha

No denying: It did look delicious.

utah juniper
Juniperus osteosperma

Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma), with edible berries, bark for bedding, and wood for fuel and building.

golden rabbitbrush
Chrysothamnus nauseosa

Golden Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosa), traditionally used for woven baskets.

pinion pine
Pinus edulis

The stately Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis), a great source of wood for building materials and fires, nuts for eating, and sap for waterproofed baskets.

Several other plants weren't marked, so please correct me if I've misidentified them:

utah agave

Utah Agave (Agave utahensis)


Camphorweed (Heterotheca subaxillaris)


Sand Sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia)

banana yucca

Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata)

The scenery at the Grand Canyon was, of course, amazing. Apparently, a previous visitor lost his/her hat over it...


See the hat on the ledge?

I could describe the geology that created the Grand Canyon, itself, but I'll leave that to the National Park Service. Here are a few parting views out over the canyon...

grand canyon 1

grand canyon 2

grand canyon 3

grand canyon 4

grand canyon 5