• Strike Valley

    Capitol Reef

    National Park Utah

Trees

Utah Juniper

NPS

Common Names: Utah Juniper

Scientific Name: Juniperus osteosperma

Size (height & diameter): 10-20 ft tall (3-6 m), 1 ft (0.3 m) in diameter

Habitat: Lowland riparian, mixed desert shrub, pinyon-juniper

Range: Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and California

Description: Utah juniper is one of two common members of the pinyon-juniper community which occurs at low to mid elevations in the park. It has fibrous bark that becomes shredded with age and bluish, waxy-coated seeds that help the tree conserve moisture. Utah juniper has been an important resource for humans for centuries being used for firewood, fence posts, food, beads, mats, and ropes.

 
Pinyon Pine

NPS

Common Names: Two-needle Pinyon, Pinon Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus edulis

Size (height & diameter): 15-45 ft (4.6-13.7 m) tall, 2.5 ft (0.7 m) in diameter

Habitat: Mixed desert shrub, pinyon-juniper, lowland riparian

Range: Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas

Description: Pinon pine is one of two common members of the pinyon-juniper community, which occurs at low to mid elevations in the park. The Latin name translates to "edible pine" referring to its nutritious seeds which are sought after by humans and wildlife. The seeds are the primary food of the pinyon jay. The Pinon pine has thin, yellowish-brown bark that becomes furrowed and brown with age. Needles occur in bundles of two. The tree produces resin which has been used by native people as an adhesive and sealant to glue feathers and to waterproof baskets, and for a variety of medicinal purposes.

 
Bristlecone Pine

NPS

Common Names: Western Bristlecone Pine, Great Basin Bristlecone Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus longaeva

Size (height & diameter): 40-66 ft (12-20 m) tall, 12-30 in (0.3-0.8 m) in diameter

Habitat: Mixed-conifer forests usually occurring in isolated stands in harsh, high elevation environments. Scattered stands occur in the northern part of the park.

Range: Utah, Nevada, and California

Description: The Western bristlecone pine is the longest-lived tree known with some reaching nearly 5,000 years old. It has a gnarled, stunted appearance with older trees often being twisted and contorted. The bark is reddish-brown with deep fissures. The needles occur in bundles of 5.

 
Fremont Cottonwood

NPS

Common Names: Fremont Cottonwood

Scientific Name: Populus fremontii

Size (height & diameter): Up to 75 ft (22.9 m) tall, 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter

Habitat: Lowland riparian; it is a dominant tree of riparian areas in the park.

Flowering Season: Mid-spring to early summer

Range: Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, and New Mexico

Description: Young Fremont cottonwoods have smooth, white bark while older trees are furrowed and brown. The leaves are triangular with long petioles. Cottonwoods provide important habitat for wildlife, including foraging and nesting habitat for song birds and perching sites for raptors. Cottonwoods in the park are host to tent caterpillars which often defoliate the trees in the spring. However, most trees will grow a new set of leaves by summer. This tree was named after the explorer John Charles Fremont.

Did You Know?

Tamarisk

The Fremont River corridor sports the feathery branches and pink flowers of the tamarisk, an exotic introduced from the Mediterranean in the 1930s. It was brought to the southwest as a river bank stabilizer and is now nearly impossible to control and eliminate, despite on-going eradication efforts.