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
Antelope Bitterbrush Purshia tridentata Shrub
Arrowleaf Balsamroot Balsamorhiza sagittata Forb/herb
Basin wildrye Leymus cinereus Graminoid/Grasses
Big Sagebrush Artemisia tridentata Shrub
Bigseed Biscuitroot Lomatium macrocarpum Forb/herb
Bitter cherry Prunus emarginata Shrub
Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva Forb/herb
Blazing Star Mentzaelia laevicaulis Forb/herb
Blue elderberry Sambucus nigra L. subsp. cerulean Tree
Broadleaf Arrowhead Sagittaria latifolia Forb/herb
Broadleaf Cattail Typha latifolia Forb/herb
California Black Oak Quercus kelloggii Tree
Common Camas Camassia quamash Forb/herb
Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium Forb/herb
Coyote Tobacco Nicotiana attenuata Forb/herb
Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus ledifolius Shrub
Currant or Gooseberry Ribes spp. Shrub
Desert Almond Prunus fasciculata Shrub
Indian ricegrass Achnatherum hymenoides Graminoid/Grasses
Klamath plum Prunus subcordata Shrub
Lambsquarters Chenopodium album Forb/herb
Mule-Ears Wyethia amplexicaulis Forb/herb
Nevada Goosefoot Chenopodium nevadense Forb/herb
Rocky Mountain Iris Iris missouriensis Forb/herb
Rocky Mountain Pond Lily Nuphar polysepala Forb/herb
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily Calochortus macrocarpus Forb/herb
Saltbush Atriplex spp. Shrub
Skunkbrush Rhus trilobata Shrub
Tapertip Onion Allium acuminatum Forb/herb
Tule Schoenopletus acutus Forb/herb
Twincrest Onion Allium bisceptrum Forb/herb
Utah Serviceberry Amelanchier utahensis Shrub
Western Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana Shrub
Woods' Rose Rosa woodsii Shrub
Woolly mule's ears Wyethia mollis Forb/herb
Yampah Perideridia spp. Forb/herb
Yellow Fritillary Fritillaria pudica Forb/herb