Located at the crossroads of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts and Rocky and Sierra Madre Mountains, Fort Bowie exhibits extraordinary floral variety. Over 600 plant species have been documented at the site. Four plant communities dominate the Fort Bowie: Semi-desert Grassland, Chihuahuan Desertscrub, Interior Southwest Riparian Deciduous Forest, and Madrean Evergreen Forest and Woodland. Active springs, granitic and limestone substrate, and biogeographic diversity each contribute to the ecological richness of the region.
Trails within the NHS allow visitors to explore portions of all four plants communities. Velvet mesquite, acacia, turpentine bush, snakeweed, yucca, and agave thrive in the scrub and grassland communities while oak, juniper, and pinyon prefer the higher slopes. The Apache Spring riparian corridor is defined by an overstory of netleaf hackberry and velvet ash. Large trees, like, desert willow and walnut define the sandy washes. Thick-leaved evergreens of Silk tassel, manzanita, and desert sumac thrive in woodland thickets, while exposed hillsides within and around the NHS are abundant in ocotillo and prickly pear. In years of ample winter precipitation and summer rain, seasonal wildflowers brighten the hillsides and meadows with a rainbow of color.
Last updated: September 9, 2021