The Mojave Desert is rich with cacti and succulent species, yet in Death Valley National Park they are scarce due to the extremes of heat, dryness and soil salinity. Even so, cactus grow from an elevation of 400 feet above sea level to the summits of the surrounding mountains.
The cactus species most commonly seen are cottontop barrel, silver cholla, and beavertail cactus. Engelmann hedgehog cactus are locally abundant above 3000 feet elevation. Grizzly bear pricklypear is the most common species in the pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Joshua trees--the indicator species of the Mojave Desert--are found in only a few locations here. The Lee Flat area contains the finest stand in the park.
In contrast to other succulent species, pickleweed is very salt-tolerant and can be found in marshy areas below sea level.
Last updated: March 9, 2017