Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest National Park can be found east of Flagstaff in northeastern Arizona. 

The Petrified Forest was designated as a national monument in 1906 because of the incredibly well-preserved petrified wood and other fossils as well as for its human heritage. These fossils are from the Late Triassic period (237 to 201 million years ago). Paleontologists find new fossils, including new flora/fauna species on a regular basis.

The park also has many living organisms including a fragile grassland ecosystems representing many species of native grasses. Most native western grasses are bunch grasses, but the Petrified Forest also preserves sod-type grasses such as the Galleta/Blue Grama duo, which are perennials and usually grow together. Bunch grasses include Rice Grass and Needle-And-Thread Grass. Non-native grasses here include Cheat Grass.

Wildflowers are abundant in April and May, but the monsoon comes in July and August, so you can see a second bloom of the year. Flowers found here include Henrickson Stansbury Cliffrose (Purshia stansburiana) and Munz Tufted Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa ssp. crinita). Some trees found here include One Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) and Little Utah Juniper (Juniperus osteosperma).


Banana Yucca

Banana yucca was an important food for pueblo people and native tribes, eating fresh and baked fruits and crisp stems. It also served in a multitude of other uses including soap making from roots, and rope and cords from the strong fibers. Women broke the extremely sharp points from the ends of leaves, keeping a long strand of fiber attached which was used for sewing. 

Banana Yucca plant in the desert
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