Over 1200 species of plants are found within Big Bend National Park--an astonishing diversity considering the hot, dry desert climate and the rugged landscape. But the sheer ruggedness of that landscape creates a variety of habitats for plants. In the shade of a canyon orchids bloom. Along the river, willows thrive. In the low desert, the hardiest of plants find a way to survive and even to thrive. Explore these pages to learn more about the plants of Big Bend National Park.
What Did I See?At nearly any time of year, you'll find something in bloom in Big Bend National Park. But there are better times than others. Want to see the bluebonnets? February and March are your best bet. Cactus? Visit in April and May. The summer monsoons bring out the yellow flowers and many tiny desert treasures. When we get rain in the winter (a rarity down here) we may have a superbloom. Those are the glorious springs when the desert floor is carpeted with wildflowers. On these pages, dig into a sample of the plants most often seen and when they bloom.
Hikes for Plant EnthusiastsGot a plant geek in the crowd? Here are some hikes where you can immerse yourself into the plant life of Big Bend National Park. Delve into oaks and sumacs along the Pine Canyon Trail. Discover wetland plants at Rio Grande Village. Hike to an Ice Age forest in the Chisos Mountains. Take a tour of these pages to learn about trails and the plants you might encounter along the way.
Get InvolvedBig Bend needs you! As a citizen scientist, you can help us learn more about the plants in the park. It's easy! Upload sightings to iNaturalist, participate in programs such as the annual Wild Plants of Texas Bioblitz, or simply attend a ranger program. These pages will help you get involved.
Plant StoriesPlants have stories. Here, you'll learn about candelilla wax, forests on the move, desert ferns, plants that talk, and more. Check back often. Is there something you'd like to learn about? Let us know and you may find your story on this page!
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Last updated: September 21, 2020