The beauty and diversity of Arizona's plantlife is remarkable.
Where else in the country can one see stands of giant saguaro
cactus and lush groves of quaking aspen, all in a single
day's walk? Scientists
studying the state's flora have categorized the region's plants into a
major biotic communities. Several factors
influence which communities are
found at any given
location, whether it be a lowland valley or a high mountain slope.
The most important factors are precipitation (rain and/or snowfall)
and temperature. As one moves upward in elevation, precipitation generally
increases and temperature decreases. Thus one finds common Sonoran Desert
plants such as saguaro and cholla growing outside of Phoenix, while
north, but more importantly 5000 feet higher,
cool forests of ponderosa pine and gambel oak thrive along the Mogollon
Other factors affecting plant distribution are sun exposure,
fire history, and
Click on the biotic communities highlighted below to find out more about Arizona's varied plant and animal life.
Back to Biogeographic Region information.