Plant Stories

Orange caltrop flowers in foreground with Rio Grande and limestone cliffs in background.
Caltrops grow on bluff above the Rio Grande.

NPS/B Trester

Explore the links below to learn more about the fascinating flora of Big Bend National Park.
Orange strings of dodder stems entangle a woody plant.

What Does the Dodder Say?

Patches of tangled, orange string engulf the shrubs by the side of the road. It looks like a Silly String party gone awry. But the orange filaments aren't string. They belong to dodder--a stem parasite with a fascinating life history. Read more...
A small, fuzzy, grey fern surrounded by resurrection plants.

Desert Ferns

Most people don't rush to Big Bend National park to look for ferns. But perhaps they should. Ferns have ingenious ways to survive the heat and aridity of the Chihuahuan Desert. Read more.
Leafless stalks of ocotillo are topped with orange-red clusters of flowers.

The Unusual Ocotillo

Big Bend National Park is home to many unusual, or some would say downright bizarre, plants. Ocotillo is definitely one of the oddballs. Read more...
Prickly pear with purple pads and bright yellow flowers.

Chihuahuan Desert Plant Responses to Climate Change

Understanding the impact of climate on vegetation is especially important in desert regions. Long-term monitoring of vegetation and climate in the Chihuahuan Desert provides insight into how future conditions may affect plant species assemblages. Read more...

Last updated: September 25, 2020

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129



Contact Us