Montezuma Castle National Monument

The Montezuma Castle National Monument is located south of Flagstaff in Arizona. The "castle" is likely the finest-preserved example of a stone and mortar cliff dwelling in the Southwest, reaching 20-stories by some measurements. It rests in a natural alcove 90 feet up a sheer cliff face. It was built over the course of 300 years, from 1100 to 1400 AD by Puebloan ancestors related to today's Hohokam culture, and was protected by the government in 1906.

Many interesting plants and trees live here, including One-seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma), Red Barberry (Mahonia haematocarpa) and Golden Currant (Ribes aureum Pursh.), Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii) blooms in the spring, after most of the wildflowers have bloomed.

Fascinating grasses also make up some of the environment at Montezuma Castle. Galleta and Blue Grama are perrennials found here that form sod-like systems and usually grow with each other. Galleta is a staple browse for local Bighorn sheep and Mule Deer. The native Indian Ricegrass (Achnatherum hymenoides) found here can live for over 100 years.

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