Chapter Meetings & Events

Through at least Fall 2021, all Chapter activities will continue to take place virtually via Zoom. Our virtual events will be announced at least 2 weeks in advance to our email list subscribers. To join our email list, please contact

Chapter Meeting: Maricopa Native Seed Library – Thursday, September 30th at 7:00 PM

Fall is the perfect time to plant wildflower seeds. So, join us to learn more about a local, FREE source for seeds! We’ll begin the meeting with Chapter announcements and business. Then, we’ll have a presentation about the Maricopa Native Seed Library by its founder, Danielle Carlock.

The Maricopa Native Seed Library provides free native seed to the community as well as a variety of resources to inspire and equip residents to create habitat at home. In this presentation, Danielle will discuss why and how the seed library was founded. Successes and challenges of the first year will be highlighted as well as advice for those interested in a similar project. Danielle will also share what’s coming next for their second year and how to use the seed library.

This event will take place via Zoom. Please register to join us in our virtual meeting space.

Our events are open to Chapter members as well as the general public, unless stated otherwise. If you’re interested in becoming a Chapter member, please view the Membership page. Yearly membership is just $30 for individuals, $15 for students, and $35 for families.

Book Discussion: A Sand County Almanac – Sunday, October 24th at 7:00 PM

We are teaming up with the Arizona Master Naturalists – Maricopa County Parks Chapter for their October book club meeting! We will discuss Aldo Leopold’s classic book A Sand County Almanac. To participate in our discussion, please locate and read the book in the coming weeks.

This event will take place via Zoom, hosted by the Arizona Master Naturalists. Please register to receive the virtual meeting link.

Additional Events

View the AZNPS Events Calendar to learn about upcoming events hosted by other Chapters throughout the state. Also, recordings of many past events are available to watch on the AZNPS YouTube page.

2021 Arizona Botany Meeting

Save the dates for this year’s Arizona Botany Meeting! This virtual event will take place November 8-10th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM each evening via Zoom. The theme is Arizona Native Plants to the Extreme: Exploring the Botanical Diversity, Ecology, Adaptability, and Resilience of Arizona’s Native Flora in an Era of Environmental Change. Registration details coming soon.

We are currently accepting abstracts for oral presentations and posters. Please see the submission details for more information. Deadline is September 15th.


Join our virtual community!

To stay up to date on our meetings and other activities, please join our email list.

Follow the AZNPS Phoenix Chapter’s Facebook page for more information about local native plants news, research, and events!

We also invite you to follow our Chapter on Instagram and use the hashtag #aznativeplants to help us raise awareness of Arizona’s amazing native plants!



Seeking native plants to use in landscaping?

Native Landscaping Plants

Fall is the ideal time to add native plants to your yard or patio!

If you would like to learn which plants are native to our area, we invite you to view our Chapter’s List of Recommended Native Landscaping Plants (draft version). It highlights plants that are: 1) native to the Phoenix metro area, 2) beneficial to wildlife, 3) low-water-use, 4) relatively easy to care for, and 5) generally available at local nurseries or seed suppliers.

Our Chapter President’s Top 20 Native Landscaping Plants for Metro Phoenix are presented in a webinar recording.

The AZNPS Grow Native resources provide additional information about landscaping with native plants, including planning your garden and pamphlets available to download.

Local Nurseries & Plant Sales

We’ve compiled a list of metro Phoenix nurseries that generally offer a selection of native plants. Some have more variety than others, and inventory changes frequently or may be seasonal. So, it is best to inquire with a few nurseries by phone or email to determine which one suits your needs. Due to precautionary measures currently in place, please contact a nursery directly to determine if they have special operating hours or procedures.

In addition, several local organizations hold plant sale fundraisers in the Spring and Fall. Please see the list below for upcoming events. We’ll update this announcement when any additional local plant sales take place.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum – Fall Plant Sale: October 8th (members) 9th-24th (public)

Audubon Southwest will have a Native Plant Sale at the Walk for the Wild/Urban Wildlife Conservation Day celebration at Rio Salado Restoration Area, 2439 S. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004. October 9th from 8:00-11:00 AM (Reservation required for entry)

Desert Botanical Garden – Fall Plant Sale: October 14th-15th (members) 16th-17th (public) (Reservation required for entry)

Butterfly Wonderland – Fall Plant Sale: October 16th-17th

Wildflower Seeds

Monsoon season and fall are terrific times to add wildflower seeds to your landscape, assuming it rains! For a wide variety of Arizona native plant seeds, we recommend the following sources:

Maricopa Native Seed Library – This new local project offers native seeds for free! Similar in format to other seed libraries, the public may obtain up to 3 seed packets per month. Available at several Maricopa Community Colleges libraries.

Native Seeds/SEARCH – Purchase seeds online from their conservation farm in southern Arizona.

Borderlands Restoration Network – Purchase seeds online or visit their nursery in Patagonia.

If you feel there’s a local nursery, native plant fundraiser, or seed supplier we should add to our list, please let us know!


Additional Chapter Announcements

Invasive Species Alert: Fountain Grass

Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a popular landscaping plant, but a dangerous invasive weed. Its seeds easily spread and invade roadsides, washes, and natural areas. As a result, Fountain grass pushes out native plants and wildlife, disrupts water flow and availability, and increases the risk and severity of wildfires. Therefore, it was listed as an Arizona noxious weed in early 2020 and is no longer sold by the nursery trade.

The Arizona Native Plant Society, along with several partners, created an informational pamphlet to help the community learn how to identify and control Fountain grass. Please download, read, and share this important information with others!

The Fountain grass pamphlet is available in two formats. The digital format is best for viewing electronically. The printable format is best for viewing as a tri-fold pamphlet. In addition, there is a Spanish version of the pamphlet.

Fountain grass is a popular landscaping plant, but a dangerous invasive weed. If you have it in your landscape, please remove it.

Wildfire Precautions

To help prevent wildfires in our public lands, do not drive over dry grass, do not smoke in vegetated areas, and do not use fireworks. Also, take extra care to obey additional fire restrictions and notices that are in place.

For the latest information about wildfires in Arizona or anywhere in the US, visit the national Incident Information System (InciWeb).

When exploring public lands, check trailer chains, watch for sparks, drown campfires completely, and do not drive over dry grass.

Source: US Bureau of Land Management & US Forest Service

Recreate Responsibly

The Arizona Office of Tourism and Arizona State Parks provide information about responsible recreation, including leave no trace principles, safety precautions, and the current status of public lands in Arizona.

If you opt to explore our beautiful desert parks and public lands that are open, please do so safely, plan ahead, and have a back-up plan in case your chosen location is crowded or closed.

Recreate responsibly by staying home if you are sick, following CDC guidance on personal hygiene, observing physical distancing of 6 feet, sharing the trail, and announcing as you pass others.

Source: Arizona Office of Tourism


Chapter Leadership

Name Role Contact
Lisa Rivera President
Pam McMillie Vice President
Danielle Carlock Treasurer
Kathy Balman Secretary

Volunteering Opportunities

Want to get involved? We've got just the thing!

Outdoor Opportunities

If you are interested in volunteer activities related to restoration, invasive species control, gardening, conservation, or scientific research, we recommend contacting the following organizations.

Citizen Science Opportunities

These are citizen science projects you can participate in on your own at home, during a walk in your neighborhood, or while visiting Arizona’s public lands.

Metro Phoenix EcoFlora

An iNaturalist project focused on plants found in urban environments. There are also monthly EcoQuest challenges that focus on certain species. Add your photo observations to the project. Or, if plant identification is your superpower, help to ID what others saw!

Nature’s Notebook

Document the seasonal changes in plants or animals near your home by becoming a USA – National Phenology Network observer.

Desert Defenders

A special initiative in metro Phoenix to identify and map invasive plants. There is also a special project dedicated to locating stinknet (Oncosiphon piluliferum/pilulifer).

Buffelgrass Green-up

Contribute invasive buffelgrass observations to the USA – National Phenology Network’s Buffelgrass Green-Up phenophase map.

Western Monarch Milkweed Mapper

If you see milkweed plants or monarch butterflies, eggs, or caterpillars while outdoors, take a photo and submit your sighting to this regional project.

Southwest Monarch Study

Monarchs need milkweed and nectar plants, so hopefully you have these growing in your yard or neighborhood! Join this monarch “tagging” project to help document Western monarch migration.


Native plants attract a variety of birds. Report the type of birds you see in your yard, neighborhood, or local park.

Bumble Bee Watch

Native flowering plants are essential for bumble bees. Help scientists track their populations by submitting photos of the ones you see.

If you have a rain gauge at home (or decide to purchase one), join this Arizona rainfall monitoring network to submit your daily rainfall totals.


Access digitized natural history data online to help transcribe and decipher field notebooks, photographs, museum labels, and data sheets from around the world.


Select from a variety of online projects to contribute to real academic research from your own computer.

Libraries as Hubs for Citizen Science

Visit one of six local libraries loaning out citizen science tools and supplies.

Chapter News

Announcing Plant Press Arizona!

Posted on Aug 20, 2021

The Society’s bi-annual publication has a new name! To distinguish itself as a source for local botanical information, The Plant Press is now known as Plant Press Arizona.

The latest issue is available to view and download for free from our website. Read about herbarium buried treasures, penstemons of Arizona, the Maricopa Native Seed Library, and native plants of Hermosillo (with articles in Spanish & English).

Cover of the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of Plant Press Arizona.

To view previous issues, please see the Plant Press archive on our website.

Summer Happenings

Posted on May 31, 2021

The Summer 2021 edition of Happenings, the Arizona Native Plant Society’s quarterly newsletter, is now available. Take a look for information from around the state about upcoming virtual meetings, our fountain grass awareness campaign, the 2021 Botany Conference, and a recap of recent activities.

Plant Profile: Desert Ironwood

Posted on May 31, 2021

Guardian of the Desert

By Kathleen M. McCoy, Master Naturalist, AZNPS Phoenix Chapter Member

Leer en español

What thorny, long lived, slow-growing giant can nurture a wide range of plants, provide roosts for birds, and produce protein-rich seeds for animals? The Desert ironwood (Olneya tesota) can do all the above and more!

A member of the Leguminosae family, Desert ironwood’s natural boundaries correspond closely with those of the Sonoran Desert. Additional names for this endemic tree within the U.S./Mexico borderlands include Ironwood, Palo Fierro, and Palo de Hierro, and Tèsota.

Commonly found in washes and hillside drainages, Ironwoods thrive in warm areas below 3,000 feet. The Ironwood Forest National Monument, located 25 miles northwest of Tucson, was established in June 2000 and provides protection for one of the richest areas of Ironwood trees.

Ironwood trees strongly influence the distribution and quantity of hundreds of wildlife species by functioning as a “nurse plant” and a “keystone species.” Canopies of mature trees provide microenvironments advantageous to understory plants, with winter temperatures several degrees warmer than open areas. In addition to protecting seeds and seedlings from extreme cold, Ironwoods also provide safety from radiation and predation.

The perennial Ironwood can remain as a many stemmed, 6-feet high spiny shrub, or erect and spreading with a low canopy with a thick trunk reaching 30 feet or more. This semi-deciduous native tree is covered with grayish-green leaves that endlessly drop and regrow throughout the year. At the base of each leaf are excruciatingly sharp, slightly curved paired spines. The piercing thorns and low canopy protect small reptiles and desert mammals from larger prey and provide forage, cover, and nesting sites.

As one of the tallest trees in the desert scrub, with a potential life span of 800 years, its canopy is used by nearly 150 bird species. Local and migrating birds, such as endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owls, build nests in Ironwoods. Hawks and owls often use bare branches as perches and roosts.

In April and May, small pale lavender or purple flowers blanket the tree, but only for about two weeks. Ironwood flowers and fruit may occur in most years, but are abundant only four years per decade. Native bees are commonly attracted to the flowers. After pollination, ironwoods produce slightly curved, knobby pods containing up to eight shiny dark brown hard-shelled seeds. These are an important food source for native fauna in early summer.

The Ironwood is also beneficial to humans and was widely used as food by the Cahuilla, Mohave, Papago, Pima, and Seri indigenous people. The peanut or soy flavored seeds were eaten either raw, dry roasted, or ground for flour. Roasted seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee beans.

The tree’s wood has social and economic impact as well. The name “Ironwood” refers to the hard, heavy heartwood so dense it cannot float. The trunk is highly resistant to rotting, and may remain intact up to 1600 years. Wood was used for fuel, as well as for making various kinds of tools and implements like digging sticks and shovels. Ironwood also added to the aesthetic of daily life by providing wood for weaving frames, musical instruments, and the beautiful carvings of the Seri.

Photo credits: Lisa Rivera


Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. (n.d.). Biological survey of Ironwood Forest National Monument.

Bureau of Land Management. (2021). Ironwood Forest National Monument.

Marshall, C. (2018). Why is ironwood so heavy? Woodworkers Journal.

Rymer, C. (2003). The ironwood: stately sanctuary in the Sonoran Desert. Master Gardener Journal.

Southwest Desert Flora. (2017). Olneya tesota, Desert ironwood.,%20Desert%20Ironwood.html


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