Wildflowers on the rim of the Painted Desert


Four O'clock
Colorado Four O'clock


Wildflowers have adapted to the arid climate at Petrified Forest National Park in many different ways.

  • Thick, waxy coverings on leaves and stems reduce evaporation.
  • Small leaves reduce the effects of solar radiation and water loss.
  • Deep taproots reach far into the soil to find water while shallow, widespread roots catch and absorb surface water quickly.
  • Wildflowers avoid drought and heat by hiding in the soil as seeds or bulbs, sometimes for decades. Germination only occurs after significant seasonal rainfall.
small white and yellow flowers grow over rocky ground


When can I see wildflowers?

April and May, following winter snow and rain, are generally the best months to see wildflowers throughout the Southwest.

Beginning in late August, if the summer monsoon season (July-August) has brought significant rainfall, different species bloom and color the landscape once again.

Can't visit? You can view flowers year round on our Facebook and Flickr pages.

sharp leaves of yucca plant
Banana yucca


Plant and Pollinator

The yucca and the yucca moth have a fascinating pollination relationship which includes trysts in the night. After mating, the female moth gathers pollen from a yucca flower and packs it into a ball. She then flies into the night until locating another yucca flower. Here she lays eggs in the base of the flower's pistil and packs pollen from her pollen ball down into the pistil, providing food for her young when they hatch. She visits several flowers during the night, each time distributing the pollen from flower to flower. Thus she fertilizes the yucca flowers while ensuring that her young will have nutrients to live on. Yucca plants and moths have a mutualistic symbiotic relationship, in which individuals of different species benefit from the activity of the other. Yucca flowers are only pollinated by yucca moths and yucca moth larvae only feed on yucca pollen.

Last updated: April 15, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217

Petrified Forest , AZ 86028-2217


928 524-6228

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