Photo of orange butterflyweed with butterflies eating its nectar.
Orange butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) isn't just an important nectar source for this mix of butterflies, but also a primary food for the caterpillar of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and its relatives. It is among the park's perennial plants that blooms reliably in the fall.

NPS/Donna Laing

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has lush vegetative cover when compared to the drier deserts to the west. Woody plants predominate. Unlike Death Valley, for instance, there is almost no bare ground that can suddenly flush with annual wildflowers in an unusual rainy period. While this park's wildflowers are not always as dramatically eye-catching, they are quite beautiful and abundant, with both annuals and perennial plants represented. The huge variety of plants and the mild climate can result in delightful flower surprises in almost any month of the year-especially if you look closely! The tall torrey yuccas often put up their large white flower clusters in late winter. At the same time, the secretive desert anemones, which spend most of the year hidden underground as tubers, send up delicate flower stalks each topped with one white flower.

If summer rains materialize, there will be sudden appearances of many interesting flowers, such as the large blue flowers of Lindheimer's morning glory vine and the tiny red flowers of another morning glory called scarlet creeper.

In dry years, the park's perennial plants (including shrubs and trees) provide the most reliable flowering. But, even in very dry years some of them do not flower or bear fruit.

See the park's plant list for all the names.

Last updated: December 17, 2017

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3225 National Parks Highway
Carlsbad, NM 88220


(575) 785-2232

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