Verde Valley Botanical Area

 

 

Purshia x subintegra

 

Eriogonum ericifolium

 

Salvia dorrii ssp. mearnsii

 

Polygala rusbyi

 

 

Coordinating Botanist: Max Licher

 

Status: In Progress

 

Started: 2010

 

Taxa List

 

 

 

 

The Verde Valley Botanical Area was established to help protect the Arizona Cliffrose (Purshia x subintegra), a federally listed endangered species endemic to central Arizona. The area is dominated by the Verde Formation, composed of limestone soils and cliffs along the east side of the Verde River near Cottonwood. It is also home to a handful of other sensitive endemic plant species that have habitats restricted to the same geological substrate. The site is under Coconino National Forest management, and is located north of State Highway 89A, east of the Verde River, and west of the Bill Gray Road (USFS Rd. #761). A number of smaller roads approach the perimeter of the site, and it is crossed by the Limekiln and Bill Ensign Trails. Hiking is of moderate difficulty, and other than the two trails mentioned, is all cross country with little shade except for that provided by scattered Junipers and the dominant Crucifixion Thorn (Canotia holacantha). Several large dry washes dissect the area, and contain a few small seeps and springs. Most of the area ranges from 3300- 3700 in elevation.

 

A working checklist of the greater surrounding area, based on many years of observation by former Verde Valley botanist Bob Denham, with subsequent additions and refinements by PAPAZ members, contains approximately 360 species of vascular plants. The PAPAZ study area is expanded beyond the boundaries of the official Botanical Area, and includes the area south along Rocking Chair Road, and north as far as Raptor Hill. To date, 157 taxa have been vouchered for the PAPAZ project.