• Bright orange flowers on green stalks with large tan sandstone dome in background.

    Discover the many colorful wildflowers that can be found in Capitol Reef.

  • Close up of pale green leaves with three little indentations at the top, with blue sky and cliffs.

    Shrubs are large, noticeable plants that live in Capitol Reef. Learn more about their desert adaptations.

  • Four large, bright yellow flowers on cactus with flat, vertical green pads.
    Cactus & Desert Succulents

    Learn about the succulents that live in Capitol Reef.

  • Very large tree with branches stretching over road, with cliffs in background.

    Trees in the desert? Discover trees that live in Capitol Reef's varied landscape.

  • Small plant with three white flowers on the stem, with pale green stem and leaves, near black rock.
    Species Lists

    Find the species lists for plants and animals found in Capitol Reef.

  • Clump of grasses glowing yellow in the sun, with tan rock in background.

    Grasses are an important part of the Capitol Reef ecosystem. Learn more about them!

Bright orange flowers with yellow centers, on green stems growing out of pale dirt.
The common globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) is found throughout Capitol Reef and usually blooms from April to October.

NPS/Deborah Clark

The Waterpocket Fold defines Capitol Reef National Park. A nearly 100-mile long warp in the Earth's crust, the Waterpocket Fold is a classic monocline: a regional fold with one very steep side in an area of otherwise nearly horizontal layers. The varied topography, geology, elevations, and precipitation patterns along the Waterpocket Fold have resulted in a diversity of microhabitats and niches for plant species to inhabit. Nineteen geologic formations are exposed within the Waterpocket Fold, each with unique combinations of minerals, soil types, aspect and slope.

Elevations in the park range from less than 4,000 feet (1,219 m) in the South District near Hall's Creek to over 11,000 feet (3,353 m) in the North District near Thousand Lakes Mountain. This elevation gradient results in increasing annual precipitation from the south to the north end of the park. The combination of wide ranging elevations and precipitation, coupled with the diverse geology and topography, allows 85 vegetation associations to exist in the park. Over 840 plant species occur in the park, many of which have very restricted distributions, occuring on specific geologic formations, soils, slopes, or elevation or precipitation ranges. Capitol Reef National Park has more than 40 rare and endemic plant species, six of which are federally listed as threatened or endangered.


Plant Research in and around Capitol Reef

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    Last updated: December 15, 2022

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