purple phaceilia, pink bloomed beavertail cactus, Great Basin bristlecone pine cone, white flower in sand, red desert paintbrush
Death Valley has more than 1,000 described plant species ranging from ancient bristlecone pines to ephemeral spring wildflowers.

Despite its reputation as a lifeless wasteland, Death Valley National Park contains a great diversity of plants. The park covers over 3 million acres of Mojave and Great Basin desert terrain. With over 11,000 feet of elevation change, and annual precipitation varying from 1.9 inches on the valley floor to over 15 inches in the higher mountains, there are a variety of different environments within the park for a great diversity of plants to thrive!

Vegetation zones include creosote bush, desert holly, and mesquite at the lower elevations up through shadscale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, to sub-alpine limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands. The saltpan is devoid of vegetation, and the rest of the valley floor and lower slopes have sparse cover, yet where water is available, an abundance of vegetation is usually present.

Spring Blooms!

Spring wildflower blooms are a popular attraction in this desert park. Most years will have at least a few flowers, while others can have spectacular "superblooms." For more information on blooms and insight into the current year's bloom predictions, visit our Wildflower Seasons page.


Surviving a Harsh Environment

How have plants adapted to survive the extremes of Death Valley? Here are a few broad strategies:

Escaper plants- (ex: wildflowers) wait for favorable growing conditions such as rain and cool temperatures and avoid growing during the extreme heat and dry periods.

Resister plants- are able to resist the extreme temperatures and dryness of Death Valley and live year-round. An example of this are mesquite trees, which have roots up to 80 feet long that allow them to reach water deep underground.

Evader plants- (ex: pickleweed) evade the extreme conditions by living near water sources like springs and streams.

A singular yellow sunflower-type flower

Learn more about wildflowers and get an update on current blooming in the park.

A spiny cactus with three, bright pink flowers.
Cacti and Desert Succulents

Death Valley is home to many different types of cacti and other desert succulents- learn more about them!

Last updated: March 20, 2023

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA 92328


760 786-3200

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