The Great Basin Desert is well-represented
in Nevada, Utah and portions of surrounding states. It is named for the Great
Basin, that portion of the Intermountain Region that does not drain to an ocean.
In Arizona, the Great Basin Desert is associated with the Little Colorado River
Drainage and the Arizona Strip, the portion of Arizona north of the Colorado River.
This desert is the highest in elevation, the coldest, and receives most of its
annual rainfall during the winter months. The basins accumulate salts and are
often devoid of vegetation or dominated by members of the Chenopodiaceae (Goosefoot
Family) because of their salt tolerance. Salt accumulation in these plants may
act as a kind of natural "anti-freeze." The Great Basin is shrub-dominated.
Some of the common cold-tolerant shrubs are Artemisia
tridentata(Big Sage Brush), Krascheninnikovia
lanata, (Winterfat), Atriplex
canescens, (Four wing saltbush). Cacti are not as species rich here as
in the warm deserts.