The Vascular Flora of Lizard Canyon and Chuckwalla Wash / Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Species Checklist


This checklist is for the neighboring areas of Lizard Canyon and Chuckwalla Wash / Canyon. Because we've never botanized this area at prime time, for now it also includes additional species known from Plum Canyon and/or the Mescal Bajada.

Lizard Canyon is a small canyon on the north side of the North Pinyon Mountains which drains into San Felipe Creek between Sentenac Canyon and the Tamarisk Grove Campground. Lindsay, in Anza Borrego A to Z, says the canyon was named in the 1950s when a park ranger reported seeing a lizard scurrying across the canyon.

Lizard Canyon is between Plum Canyon on the west, and Chuckwalla Canyon on the east.

We've driven past the sign for Lizard Canyon literally hundreds of times. On 30 November 2014 we decided to botanize it. We surveyed 1.7 miles from the mouth of the canyon at SR78 to the saddle above the East Fork of Lizard Canyon with Chuckwalla Canyon, finding 79 species that could be confidently-identified even at this time of year, plus another possible species that needs follow-up work to confirm its assigned determination.

We surveyed the lower part of Chuckwalla Wash on 29 January 2017, and the West Fork of Lizard Canyon on 2 February 2017.

For photographs of the area and many of the species found here, with detailed hiking instructions for several routes, see Fred Melgert and Carla Hoegen's pages:

See also Jerry Schad's hiking description of the canyon. Robin Halford describes two hikes in Lizard Canyon in her first book Hiking in Anza-Borrego Desert, and a Lizard-Chuckwalla Shuttle in her second book.

Species Checklist


An asterisk before the common name indicates a non-native species.

The column labeled #Pls gives a minimum estimate of the number of plants from the field surveys, up to a maximum of 99 plants, for each canyon (Ch Chuckwalla Wash / Canyon; Lz Lizard Canyon). The main intent of this estimate is to indicate the species for which we found very few plants. However, note that in many cases the number given is a severe underestimate of the actual abundance that would be found in surveys at prime time in a good year.

A V in this column indicates a species we did not see, but which was vouchered here. If the column entry is blank, it indicates a species from the neighboring Plum Canyon or Mescal Bajada.

The number of plants for Carlowrightia arizonica comes from a field survey by Fred Melgert and Carla Hoegen, who were the first ones to discover this species here on 14 January 2017.

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#FamilyScientific Name(*) Common Name#Pls
1SelSelaginella bigeloviiBigelow's spike-moss  
2SelSelaginella eremophiladesert spike-moss9999
3PteCheilanthes covilleibeady lipfern 2
4PteCheilanthes parryiwoolly lipfern3015
5PteCheilanthes viscidasticky lipfern 5
6PteNotholaena californica ssp. californicaCalifornia cloak fern 16
7PtePellaea mucronata var. mucronatabird's-foot fern  
8CupJuniperus californicaCalifornia juniper9999
9EphEphedra asperaMormon tea4080
10EphEphedra californicadesert tea15 
11AcaCarlowrightia arizonicaArizona carlowrightia80 
12AcaJusticia californicachuparosa9999
13AmaAmaranthus fimbriatusfringed amaranth 99
14AnaRhus aromaticabasketbush  
15ApiApiastrum angustifoliumwild celery  
16ApiLomatium mohavenseMojave lomatium  
17ApoAsclepias albicanswhite-stemmed milkweed  
18ApoAsclepias subulatarush milkweed  
19ApoFunastrum cynanchoides var. hartwegiiclimbing milkweed  
20ApoFunastrum hirtellumrambling milkweed  
21ApoMatelea parvifoliaspearleaf332
22AstAcamptopappus sphaerocephalus var. sphaerocephalusgoldenhead  
23AstAdenophyllum porophylloidesSan Felipe dogweed1599
24AstAmbrosia dumosaburroweed9999
25AstAmbrosia salsola var. salsolacheesebush9999
26AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. albulawhite mugwort  
27AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. incomptamountain mugwort  
28AstArtemisia ludoviciana ssp. ludovicianasilver wormwood  
29AstBaccharis brachyphyllashort-leaved baccharis 15
30AstBaccharis sergiloidesdesert baccharis  
31AstBahiopsis parishiiParish's goldeneye1040
32AstBebbia juncea var. asperasweetbush2030
33AstBrickellia atractyloides var. argutaCalifornia spear-leaved brickellia  
34AstBrickellia desertorumdesert brickellia  
35AstBrickellia frutescensshrubby brickellia120
36AstChaenactis carphoclinia var. carphocliniapebble pincushion 20
37AstChaenactis fremontiiFremont pincushion9999
38AstEncelia actoniActon encelia  
39AstEncelia farinosabrittlebush9999
40AstEricameria brachylepisboundary goldenbush 1
41AstEricameria paniculatablackbanded rabbitbrush  
42AstEriophyllum wallaceiWallace's woolly daisy  
43AstEriophyllum wallacei var. rubellumWallace's woolly daisy  
44AstGutierrezia sarothraematchweed260
45AstIsocoma acradenia var. acradeniaentire-leaved alkali goldenbush  
46AstLasthenia gracilisgoldfields  
47AstLogfia depressadwarf filago  
48AstLogfia filaginoidesCalifornia filago 50
49AstMalacothrix glabratadesert dandelion~11
50AstMonoptilon bellioidesdesert star V
51AstPalafoxia arida var. aridaSpanish needle  
52AstPectis papposa var. papposachinch-weed 30
53AstPerityle emoryiEmory's rock-daisy7515
54AstPleurocoronis plurisetaarrow-leaf1030
55AstPorophyllum gracileodora16
56AstRafinesquia neomexicanadesert chicory530
57AstSenecio californicusCalifornia groundsel  
58AstSenecio mohavensisMojave ragwort  
59AstStephanomeria exigua ssp. exiguaslender wreathplant  
60AstStephanomeria pauciflorawire-lettuce5070
61AstTrichoptilium incisumyellow-head  
62AstTrixis californica var. californicaCalifornia trixis725
63AstUropappus lindleyisilver puffs  
64BigChilopsis linearis ssp. arcuatadesert-willow  
65BorAmsinckia intermediacommon fiddleneck~55?
66BorAmsinckia tessellata var. tessellatabristly fiddleneck  
67BorCryptantha barbigera var. barbigerabearded cryptantha~201
68BorCryptantha decipiensgravel cryptantha  
69BorCryptantha maritimaGuadalupe cryptantha  
70BorCryptantha micranthared-root cryptantha  
71BorCryptantha micrantha var. micranthared-root cryptantha  
72BorCryptantha muricataprickly cryptantha  
73BorCryptantha pterocaryawing-nut cryptantha  
74BorCryptantha pterocarya var. cyclopteraTucson wing-nut cryptantha  
75BorCryptantha racemosabushy cryptantha  
76BorCryptantha utahensisscented cryptantha V
77BorEmmenanthe penduliflora var. penduliflorawhispering bells5040
78BorEucrypta chrysanthemifolia var. bipinnatifidaeucrypta 20
79BorEucrypta micranthadesert eucrypta  
80BorNama demissa var. demissapurple mat1250
81BorPectocarya peninsularisBaja pectocarya  
82BorPectocarya platycarpabroad-fruited combseed  
83BorPectocarya recurvatacurvenut combseed  
84BorPectocarya setosamoth combseed  
85BorPhacelia crenulata var. minutifloralittle-flowered heliotrope phacelia155
86BorPhacelia distanscommon phacelia9999
87BorPhacelia minorwild canterbury bells  
88BorPhacelia pedicellatapedicellate phacelia  
89BorPholisma arenariumsand plant  
90BorPholistoma membranaceumwhite fiesta flower9999
91BorTiquilia canescens var. canescensgray coldenia 39
92BraBoechera perennansperennial rock-cress  
93BraBrassica tournefortii*Sahara mustard9999
94BraCaulanthus cooperiCooper's jewel-flower350
95BraCaulanthus halliiHall's caulanthus  
96BraCaulanthus lasiophyllusCalifornia mustard 1
97BraCaulanthus simulansPayson's wild cabbage~3 
98BraDescurainia pinnatawestern tansy-mustard2 
99BraDithyrea californicaspectacle-pod  
100BraDraba cuneifoliawedge-leaved draba  
101BraLepidium lasiocarpum ssp. lasiocarpumhairy-podded pepper-grass3099
102BraLyrocarpa coulteriCoulter's lyrepod750
103BraSisymbrium irio*London rocket9920?
104BraSisymbrium orientale*Oriental mustard  
105BraThysanocarpus curvipesfringe-pod  
106BraTropidocarpum gracileslender tropidocarpum  
107CacCylindropuntia bigeloviiteddy-bear cholla9999
108CacCylindropuntia californica var. parkericane cholla  
109CacCylindropuntia ganderiGander's cholla9999
110CacCylindropuntia ramosissimapencil cholla  
111CacEchinocereus engelmanniiEngelmann's hedgehog cactus9999
112CacFerocactus cylindraceusCalifornia barrel cactus9999
113CacMammillaria dioicaCalifornia fish-hook cactus9960
114CacMammillaria tetrancistradesert fish-hook cactus  
115CacOpuntia basilaris var. basilarisbeavertail cactus3070
116CacOpuntia chloroticapancake prickly-pear  
117CacOpuntia engelmannii var. engelmanniiEngelmann prickly-pear  
118CacOpuntia phaeacanthadesert prickly-pear33
119CamNemacladus glanduliferusglandular nemacladus~3~3
120CamNemacladus rubescensdesert nemacladus  
121CarAchyronychia cooperifrost mat  
122CheAtriplex canescens var. canescensfour-wing saltbush  
123CheAtriplex polycarpacattle saltbush  
124CheSalsola tragus*Russian thistle  
125ClePeritoma arboreabladderpod  
126ConCuscuta californica var. papillosapapillate dodder  
127CraCrassula connatapygmy-weed9999
128CraDudleya arizonicaArizona chalk dudleya  
129CraDudleya saxosa ssp. aloidesdesert dudleya6099
130CucCucurbita palmatacoyote melon  
131EupBernardia incanawestern bernardia  
132EupChamaesyce melanadeniared-gland spurge 2
133EupChamaesyce micromeraSonoran spurge 10
134EupChamaesyce polycarpasmall-seeded spurge9999
135EupChamaesyce setilobastarfish (Yuma) spurge2099
136EupCroton californicusCalifornia croton  
137EupDitaxis lanceolatanarrowleaf ditaxis2099
138EupDitaxis neomexicanaNew Mexico ditaxis130
139EupEuphorbia erianthabeetle spurge599
140EupStillingia linearifolialinear-leaved stillingia  
141FabAcmispon argophyllus var. argophyllussouthern California silver-lotus  
142FabAcmispon glaber var. brevialatusshort-winged deerweed1515
143FabAcmispon haydoniipygmy lotus  
144FabAcmispon maritimus var. brevivexillusshort-bannered coastal lotus 3
145FabAcmispon rigidusdesert lotus 3
146FabAcmispon strigosusstrigose lotus 2
147FabAstragalus nuttallianus var. cedrosensisCedros milk-vetch  
148FabAstragalus pachypus var. pachypusthick-pod milk-vetch  
149FabAstragalus palmeriPalmer's milk-vetch 1
150FabDalea mollissimadowny dalea1 
151FabLupinus arizonicusArizona lupine  
152FabLupinus concinnusbajada lupine12
153FabLupinus excubitus var. mediusMountain Springs bush lupine  
154FabLupinus sparsiflorusCoulter's lupine15
155FabMarina parryiParry's marina9999
156FabOlneya tesotaironwood  
157FabProsopis glandulosa var. torreyanahoney mesquite  
158FabPsorothamnus emoryiEmory's indigo-bush  
159FabPsorothamnus schottiiindigo bush7599
160FabPsorothamnus spinosussmoke tree15 
161FabSenegalia greggiicatclaw9999
162FabSenna armataspiny senna  
163FabSenna covesiidesert senna5 
164FouFouquieria splendens ssp. splendensocotillo9999
165GerErodium cicutarium*redstem filaree9999
166GerErodium texanumTexas filaree8 
167KraKrameria bicolorwhite rhatany5099
168KraKrameria erectaPima rhatany1020
169LamHyptis emoryidesert-lavender9999
170LamSalvia apianawhite sage12
171LamSalvia columbariaechia5010
172LamSalvia vaseyiVasey's sage75
173LoaMentzelia albicauliswhite-stemmed blazing star 5?
174LoaMentzelia involucratabracted blazing star1V
175LoaMentzelia veatchianaVeatch's blazing star  
176LoaPetalonyx linearisnarrow-leaf sandpaper-plant  
177LoaPetalonyx thurberi ssp. thurberiThurber's sandpaper-plant  
178MalAyenia compactaayenia 20
179MalHibiscus denudatusrock hibiscus 10
180MalSphaeralcea ambiguaapricot mallow  
181MalSphaeralcea ambigua var. ambiguaapricot mallow3510
182MolMollugo cerviana*carpet-weed 99
183MonCalyptridium monandrumsand cress 20
184MonCalyptridium parryi var. arizonicumArizona sand cress  
185NycAllionia incarnatatrailing four o'clock  
186NycAllionia incarnata var. incarnatasmall-flowered trailing four o'clock  
187NycAllionia incarnata var. villosalarge-flowered trailing four o'clock 99
188NycBoerhavia coccineascarlet spiderling  
189NycBoerhavia coulteri var. palmeriCoulter's spiderling  
190NycBoerhavia triquetra var. intermediafivewing spiderling 99
191NycMirabilis laevis var. crassifoliaCalifornia four o'clock  
192NycMirabilis laevis var. retrorsaBigelow's desert four-o'clock5060
193NycMirabilis laevis var. villosaBigelow's desert four-o'clock  
194OleMenodora scabra var. glabrescensbroom twinberry  
195OnaCamissoniopsis ignotaJurupa Hills suncups  
196OnaCamissoniopsis pallida ssp. pallidapale suncup 20
197OnaChylismia cardiophylla ssp. cardiophyllaheartleaf suncup  
198OnaChylismia claviformis ssp. peirsoniibrown-eyed primrose9999
199OnaEpilobium canum ssp. latifoliummountain California-fuchsia  
200OnaEremothera boothii ssp. condensataBooth's evening primrose35~2
201OnaEremothera refractanarrow-leaf suncup~99 
202OnaEulobus californicusCalifornia suncup9999
203OroCastilleja foliolosawoolly Indian paintbrush  
204PapEschscholzia minutiflora ssp. minutiflorasmall-flowered poppy9999
205PapEschscholzia parishiiParish's poppy 5
206PhrMimulus bigelovii var. bigeloviiBigelow's monkeyflower4V
207PlaAntirrhinum filipesdesert twining snapdragon ~5
208PlaMohavea confertifloraghost flower  
209PlaPenstemon clevelandii var. clevelandiiCleveland's beardtongue  
210PlaPlantago ovatadesert plantain99 
211PolEriastrum eremicum ssp. eremicumdesert woolly-star 5
212PolGilia stellatastar gilia 15
213PolLangloisia setosissima ssp. setosissimabristly langloisia  
214PolLeptosiphon aureus ssp. aureusgolden linanthus  
215PolLoeseliastrum schottiiSchott's calico  
216PolCentrostegia thurberired triangles  
217PolChorizanthe brevicornu var. brevicornubrittle spineflower 1
218PolChorizanthe fimbriata var. laciniatalace-fringed spineflower  
219PolEriogonum davidsoniiDavidson's buckwheat  
220PolEriogonum fasciculatum var. polifoliumCalifornia buckwheat2040
221PolEriogonum inflatumdesert trumpet1570
222PolEriogonum plumatellayucca buckwheat  
223PolEriogonum thomasiiThomas' buckwheat  
224PolEriogonum wrightii var. membranaceumWright's buckwheat  
225PolEriogonum wrightii var. nodosumWright's buckwheat1030
226PolPterostegia drymarioidesfairy bowties, threadstem 2
227RanDelphinium parishii ssp. subglobosumintermediate larkspur9999
228RhaZiziphus parryi var. parryilotebush  
229RosColeogyne ramosissimablack brush 99
230RosPrunus fremontiidesert apricot2550
231RubGalium angustifolium ssp. borregoenseBorrego bedstraw  
232RubGalium stellatumstar-flowered bedstraw820
233RutThamnosma montanaturpentine broom 20
234SimSimmondsia chinensisjojoba5040
235SolDatura discolordesert thornapple  
236SolLycium andersoniiAnderson's boxthorn9940
237SolLycium cooperiCooper's boxthorn 4
238SolLycium fremontiiFremont's boxthorn  
239SolNicotiana obtusifoliadesert tobacco  
240SolPhysalis crassifoliathick-leaved ground cherry1025
241TamTamarix ramosissima*saltcedar  
242UrtParietaria hespera var. hesperapellitory  
243VerVerbena lasiostachyswestern vervain  
244VisPhoradendron bolleanumdense mistletoe  
245VisPhoradendron californicumdesert mistletoe5050
246ZygFagonia laevisCalifornia fagonia 10
247ZygLarrea tridentatacreosote bush9999
248AgaAgave deserti var. desertidesert agave9999
249AgaYucca schidigeraMohave yucca820
250AllAllium fimbriatum var. fimbriatumfringed onion  
251PoaAristida adscensionissix-weeks three-awn5099
252PoaAristida californicaCalifornia three-awn  
253PoaAristida purpureapurple three-awn3?40
254PoaAristida purpurea var. nealleyiNealley three-awn  
255PoaAvena barbata*slender wild oats  
256PoaBouteloua aristidoides var. aristidoidesneedle grama 99
257PoaBouteloua barbata var. barbatasix-weeks grama 99
258PoaBromus diandrus*ripgut brome  
259PoaBromus madritensis ssp. rubens*red brome9999
260PoaBromus tectorum*downy brome  
261PoaDasyochloa pulchellafluff grass750
262PoaHilaria rigidabig galleta 99
263PoaMelica frutescenstall melica  
264PoaMuhlenbergia microspermalittleseed muhly  
265PoaMuhlenbergia porteriPorter's muhly  
266PoaPoa secunda ssp. secundaone-sided bluegrass  
267PoaSchismus barbatus*Mediterranean schismus5099
268PoaSporobolus cryptandrussand dropseed  
269PoaStipa coronatagiant needlegrass  
270PoaStipa parishii var. parishiiParish's needlegrass  
271PoaStipa speciosadesert needlegrass 5
272RusNolina parryiParry's nolina  
273TheDichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatumblue dicks2 
274TheMuilla maritimamuilla2 

Voucher data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria (

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Copyright © 2014-2017 by Tom Chester (3), Keir Morse (2), Nancy Accola (2), Don Rideout (2), Adrienne Ballwey (1), Angelique Herman (1), John Randall (1), and Whitney Meier (1). The number in parentheses is the number of full-day field trips done by each person.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 6 February 2017.