Great Basin Desertscrub

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 confertifolia (Shadscale), Atriplex canescens, (Four wing saltbush). Cacti are not as species rich here as in the warm deserts.

Sites Visited:

Little Colorado River at Winslow