Ethnobotanical Guide of the Northwestern Great Basin

This ethnobotanical guide begins by focusing on the northwestern portion of the Great Basin, specifically in and around Surprise Valley, CA. Included species are characteristic of the region and were selected because they play a significant role in past and present human lifeways. Common, scientific, and traditional plant names, ethnobotanical uses, habitat and distribution information are provided. Choose a plant from the list below to begin.

The database is a work in progress that will grow as plant species are added and new information becomes available. It has been made possible by a collaboration between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM Applegate Field Office), the Natural History Museum of Utah and the many knowledgeable people who contribute to our database. While providing basic information for plant identification, users should consult a regional flora guide such as the Jepson Manual of Higher Plants of California, or the Intermountain Flora for necessary technical guidance. Plant nomenclature conforms to the USDA NRCS Plants Database ( Plant distribution maps are provided with permission from the Biota of North America Program ( Webpages were designed by Avery Uslaner and botanical advice was provided by Dr. Bruce Pavlik (Red Butte Garden, Utah).For further information contact Dr. Nicole Herzog or Dr. Lisbeth Louderback (NHMU; Department of Anthropology, University of Utah).

Common Name Scientific Name Habit/Growth Form
Basin wildrye Leymus cinereus Graminoid/Grasses
Bigseed Biscuitroot Lomatium macrocarpum Forb/herb
Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva Forb/herb
Blue elderberry Sambucus nigra L. subsp. cerulean Tree
California Black Oak Quercus kelloggii Tree
Coyote Tobacco Nicotiana attenuata Forb/herb
Currant or Gooseberry Ribes spp. Shrub
Indian ricegrass Achnatherum hymenoides Graminoid/Grasses
Klamath plum Prunus subcordata Shrub
Rocky Mountain Pond Lily Nuphar polysepala Forb/herb
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily Calochortus macrocarpus Forb/herb
Saltbush Atriplex spp. Shrub
Utah Serviceberry Amelanchier utahensis Shrub
Woods' Rose Rosa woodsii Shrub
Woolly mule's ears Wyethia mollis Forb/herb
Yampah Perideridia spp. Forb/herb