• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

There are park alerts in effect.
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  • Wheeler Peak Summit Trail Closed

    A small smoldering fire near the trail has caused the closure of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. park staff is observing the fire. Check back here to get an update whne the trail will open. Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trail are open. More »

  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Travel Not Recommended - Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive Above 8,000 Feet

    Snow and ice may make travel on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive unsafe, travel is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather later in the week is expected and conditions may improve. Please check back. 9/29/2014

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Endemic Plants

clump of holgrem's buckwheat

Holgrem's buckwheat is endemic to Great Basin National Park.

Endemic plants are special because they are found in only one location on the planet, and nowhere else. Great Basin National Park is home to several endemic plant and animal species. The "sky island" geography of the Great Basin region lends itself to large numbers of highly specialized species.

Mountain ranges are separated from other mountains by "seas" of desert, across which plant and animal migration is difficult due to the dramatic differences in environment between the high elevations and the basins below. Each mountain range behaves much like an island, where species are trapped. They adapt and change within the very specific parameters of that one location.

Below is a list of plant species endemic to the Snake Range (home to Great Basin National Park) and to the Great Basin Region. This is not an exhaustive list of species endemic to the Great Basin Region, but includes only the species found in or near the park.


Species Endemic to the Snake Range

Mt. Wheeler sandwort (Arenaria congesta var. wheelerensis)
The endemic subspecies wheelerensis is critically rare in Nevada, occuring only in the Snake Range. It has been found in only a few locations in the park in alpine and subalpine environments. Threats include livestock grazing and recreational use of alpine areas.

Holgrem's buckwheat (eriogonum holmgrenii)
Found only in the Snake Range, this flowering plant is considered a sensitive species. It is found in quartzite and limestone talus in alpine and subalpine areas. Threats include sheep grazing and recreational use of alpine areas.


Species Endemic to the Great Basin Region

In addition to those above:

Nevada primrose
(Primula nevadensis)
This is a rare and local perennial flower with a small range that includes only Nye County and White Pine County, home of Great Basin National Park. It is fairly common in suitable habitats, but limited to alpine and subalpine limestones, which makes it susceptible to disturbances in those areas. Designated a sensitive species and species of concern, threats include sheep grazing and recreational use of alpine areas, especially illegal ORV use in alpine tundra habitats.

Nachlinger's catchfly (Silene nachlingerae)
This flowering plant is found in central Great Basin ranges like the Snake and Ruby. Like many Great Basin endemics, it is found primarily in isolated alpine areas on limestone substrates. It has been found in the park around the Lincoln Peak and Mount Washington areas. Listed as a sensitive species, species of concern, and a Nevada Special Status Species, it is threatened by alpine recreation and livestock grazing in alpine and subalpine habitats, particularly associated with the Murphy Wash sheep allotment.

Waxflower (Jamesia tetrapetala)
This rare and local flowering shrub is found in central Great Basin alpine and subalpine limestone cliff, talus, and canyon areas. It has been found in Great Basin National Park, mostly in the Mount Washington and Lincoln Canyon areas. It is sensitive species, species of concern, and a Nevada Special Status Species. Populations are threatened by recreational use of alpine areas and domestic sheep grazing, especially on the Murphy Wash allotment.

Pennell's whitlowgrass (Draba pennellii)
Endemic specifically to the Schell Creek Range, this flowering native species can also been seen throughout White Pine County. Its presence in the park is possible, but unconfirmed. The plant is found in cracks, crevices, and on rocky slopes and ledges, over a wide elevation range.

Mt. Moriah beardtongue (Penstemon moriahensis)
This rare native flower is limited to very few ranges in Central Nevada, particularly the North Snake and Kern. Located in scrubby woodlands between 7,000 and 9,000 feet, its presence in the park is unconfirmed.

Intermountain wavewing (Cymopterus basalticus)
This short, squat plant is a perennial endemic to western Utah and White Pine County, Nevada. A member of the family commonly known as the spring parsleys, it can be found in low and mid-elevation sagebrush and pinyon-juniper communities. Its presence in the park is possible, but unconfirmed. Potential threats include sheep grazing and development, such as contruction or road improvements.

Did You Know?

Sagebrush

The Sagebrush, a very common resident of Great Basin National Park, is well adapted to the area. The Big Sagebrush root system can extend as much as 90 feet in circumference. This adaptation allows the plant to collect as much water as possible during infrequent rains.