Vermilion Cliffs National Monument







Coordinating Botanist:Amy Prince


Status:In Progress




Taxa List




Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (VCNM) is a 280,000 acre monument that was designated in 2000 and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It is made up of the Paria Plateau, the Paria River Canyon, the Vermilion Cliffs themselves, and the area immediately below the cliffs including many natural springs. The area is remote and extends across a 4000 feet elevation gradient, containing habitat ranging from riparian desert oases and slickrock badlands, to pinon juniper woodland and ponderosa pine transition zones. The Paria Plateau is one of the most ecologically-intact areas in the region. This is due, in part, to the lack of natural water sources and rugged terrain which precluded grazing access prior to the 1960ís.


The flora is a unique combination of cold Great Basin type desert plants and warm Mojave type desert and grassland.


D. Atwood and L. Higgins created a plant list in 2005 from collections and observations during 2 field seasons in 2002 and 2003, as well as older collections.Begun in collaboration with Grand Canyon Trust, this project has been assisted by PAPAZ volunteers and aims to fill in geographical collection gaps and visit some of the more remote areas through the seasons.To date, over 2000 voucher specimens have been made, with approximately 490 taxa represented. Collecting now is focused on visiting a few remaining springs and documenting occurrences of rare and endemic plants, including Sclerocactus sileri, Asclepius welshii, Euphorbia aaron-rossii, and others.