NPS Photo by Barry Nielsen
To view an interactive working plant list for Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and other surrounding southwest national parks, please visit the Southwest Environmental Information Network.
Some of the most common trees are Ponderosa pine, Gambel's oak, Douglas fir, New Mexico juniper, pinon pine, and alligator juniper. Cactus are common, with the most frequently observed being prickly pear and cholla. Two abundant species, which many visitors have never seen and therefore frequently inquire about, are buffalo gourd (Cucurbita foetidissima, also known as coyote melon) and prickly poppy (Argemne platycepas).
Did You Know?
Stone axes made it challenging for the ancient Puebloans of the Mogollon area to cut down trees for vigas (roof beams) in the Gila Cliff Dwellings. So, before chopping the tree trunks, they would burn a small fire around the base of the trunk to weaken it so their axes could cut it down more easily.