It's National Wildflower Week (May 1-7) and you may be surprised at just how many varieties of wildflowers we have in the state of Nevada.
Nevada is home to more than 1,500 native wildflower species statewide. And that’s only counting the herbaceous (non-woody) species. There are hundreds more flowering shrubs, trees, and vines in the state.
Beyond their aesthetic beauty, these native blooms help conserve water, provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, and protect soil from erosion. In addition to being more resistant to local diseases and pests, native wildflowers require less fertilizer than other plants, and usually only need to be mowed once per season. Because wildflower gardens require minimal maintenance compared to traditional gardens, more and more consumers have been drawn to the idea as a way to save time, money, and water.
Where you can see wildflowers within driving distance of Las Vegas:
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, about 15 miles west of Las Vegas
Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, Blue Diamond
Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd.
Tule Springs at Floyd Lamb State Park, 9200 Tule Springs Road
Clark County Wetlands Park, 7050 Wetlands Park Lane
Mount Charleston/Desert National Wildlife Range, 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas
Valley of Fire State Park, Interstate 15/Exit 75
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, located south of Boulder City
White Owl Canyon, Boulder City
Ireteba Peaks Wilderness, Nelson Road and U.S. 95 south, Searchlight
Beyond serving as an alternative to non-native plants, Nevada’s wildflowers also attract “pollinators,” such as bees, butterflies, and hawk moths, which are essential to the health of our natural environment. Additionally, more than a third of the world’s food crops are dependent on pollinators to produce fruit.
The Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is encouraging residents to help preserve the wildflowers in our state during National Wildflower Week and beyond. Ways you can do this include:
1. Plant native wildflowers in your yard or garden, and/or replace your lawn with native flora. The Nevada Division of Forestry operates two nurseries, located in Washoe County and Las Vegas, which offer native and adapted plants for purchase year round. To learn more, visit http://forestry.nv.gov/ndf-state-forest-nurseries/
2. Photograph wildflowers and upload your photos to the iNaturalist App, available on Android and iPhone devices, to help identify the locations and species of plants and animals in your area. By recording and sharing your observations, you'll create research quality data for area scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
Please share your wildflower photos on social media using #NationalWildflowerWeek, and tag the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (@NevDCNR) on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.