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Biogeographic Regions of Arizona

Sonoran Desert Region

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Covering a large portion of central and southern Arizona is the Sonoran Desert Region. The geographic extent of this desert is defined by the stately saguaro cactus, whose impressive trunk can grow to a height of 50 feet or more. The Sonoran desert is unlike most other desert regions in North America. Portions of the desert receive a considerable amount of rainfall, much of it is well-vegetated, and it has a rich collection of both plant and animal species. In addition to the distinctive saguaro cactus, other notable plant species include ocotillo, palo verde, cholla, and, to the south, organ pipe cactus. The Sonoran Desert landscape is especially beautiful during the spring when flowers carpet the desert floor and the many shrubs and cacti are in full bloom.

The following biotic communities can be seen in much of central and southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert Region: Sonoran Desertscrub, Southern Arizona Riparian Woodland, Chaparral, Pinyon Pine - Juniper Woodland and Madrean Evergreen Woodland.

Sonoran Desert Geology