This page attempts to assist locals in the visual identification of the most common native and "feral" or escapee plants of the Verde Valley of central Arizona, in the Southwestern US. (For a map, click here) I am working mainly with dicots presently - most grasses will come later. For the purposes of this page the Verde Valley is defined as the area along the Verde River from its confluence with Sycamore Creek in the north, west to Mingus and Woodchute Mountains, south to Camp Verde and east to Sedona. The towns included in this area are Jerome, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Cornville, Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma/Beaver Creek and Sedona.
Plants are grouped into broad categories which I hope will make them easier for non-botanists to find. I have also provided list of plants by common name and by taxonomy with links to their individual pages. The categories are:
Trees: Perennial plants with upright woody stems which, in their normal adult form, have a trunk or multiple trunks of at least 2" (50cm) in diameter, and which grow to heights of at least 8' (2.4M).
Shrubs and Bushes: Perennial plants with woody stems which, in their normal adult form, have a trunk or multiple trunks of less than 2" (50cm) in diameter, and which normally do not grow over 8' (2.4M) high.
Flowers: Annual or perennial plants which, during their blooming season, exhibit obvious, showy flowers. Although all higher plants have flowers at some stage in their life, we're talking here about the kind of flower you might enjoy on your table, or would score points for if you gave it to your lover! I have further broken flowers into categories by the color of their bloom.
Cacti and Succulents: These are plants that have thick, fleshy stems or leaves, and which store considerable amounts of water in those stems and leaves. The plants generally are green everywhere and often have spines or thorns.
Other Plants: This is a "catchall" category for plants such as vines, reeds, giant grasses, "weeds", and others that don't fit neatly into one of the other categories.
Obviously there are many instances where one plant fits several categories (the Verde Valley's Mesquites, for instance, depending on where they're found, could be legitimately called trees or a shrubs), and in these cases, I've included them in both categories. If you don't find a plant in the place you expect, try another!
Photos were taken with an Olympus 400Z and a Nikon CP800 digital camera and edited in Corel PhotoPaint. All text and photos are copyrighted to Doug Von Gausig and Naturesongs.com, 1999, 2000.