Plant communities include pinyon-juniper forests, ponderosa pine, blue spruce, and Douglas-fir overstory with Rocky Mountain maple, greenleaf manzanita, and/orOregon grape understory; Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir overstory with monkshood, Oregon grape, and/or gooseberry understory; and subalpine meadows of grasses, sedges, and forbs. At the very edges of the cliffs, ancient bristlecone pine trees thrive in the harsh exposed environment to which they are so well adapted. The oldest bristlecone known in the monument is about 1,700 years old. A large portion of the of the park has been affected by the spruce bark beetle epidemic that has killed thousands of acres Englemann spruce stands on the Markagunt Plateau. The most widespread invasive exotic plants are dandelion and smooth brome. An official species list is available from the Northern Colorado Plateau Network.
Did You Know?
When the Southern Paiute occupied this region, they referred to it as "u-map-wich," which translates to "the place where the rocks are sliding down constantly."