A Guide to Plants of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

Cover for Plants of Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park

EARLIER THIS YEAR I posted a preliminary checklist of plants in and around Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in northwestern Nye County, Nevada. I’ve expanded that list so that it’s now the first edition of a “guide” to the flora there. It’s intended to help visitors who are curious about plant life in the area recognize some of the rich biodiversity of this park and the central Great Basin region. This is a free PDF you can obtain from my Downloads page.

Native and naturalized plant species are listed by major taxonomic group (Gymnosperms, Dicots, and Monocots), then alphabetically by family and species. Each plant is described very briefly with regard to its habitat and/or location in the park, plus a few prominent identifying characteristics. I also prepared a new map of the area, derived from USGS topographic quadrangles (edited in Adobe Illustrator, with Avenza MAPublisher). Sorry, no illustrations yet. . . perhaps in a future edition.

This is still a work in progress. Some identifications may be incorrect and some are uncertain for plants that should keyed again with better flowering or fruiting material. Additional plants not yet included are to be expected, especially among the grasses and the annual dicots. (Please let me know if you have additions or corrections!)

Penstemon sp.

Penstemon sp.

Not surprisingly, the genus genus Astragalus (Milkvetches or Locoweeds) appears to be the most diverse genus in the area, with at least 7 species. Penstemon (Beardtongues) and Eriogonum (Wild-buckwheats) come in a close second, with at least 5 species in each. The largest plant families include Asteraceae (Sunflower family) with at least 20 species, Brassicaceae (Mustard family) with at least 13 species, and Fabaceae (Pea family) with at least 11 species.

Astragalus newberryi

Stanleya pinnata

Stanleya pinnata

Sources for this list include my own field observations during 2018–2020, observations posted by others on iNaturalist, and specimen records in the Intermountain Regional Herbarium Network. Photographs of the plants, lichens, insect galls, and animals that I and others have observed in the area can be seen on iNaturalist, at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=129800&subview=grid.

Map of Berlin-Ichthyosaur area

Copyright © Tim Messick 2020. All rights reserved. DOWNLOADS

2 responses to “A Guide to Plants of Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

  1. Oliver, Martin P

    Hey Tim, hope you’re doing well.

    We spent just an afternoon and evening here a couple years ago, your checklist will give us a good excuse to go back! We’ve been enjoying exploring the ranges north of Tonopah the past couple years.



    Martin Oliver Botanist, Bishop Field Office Bureau of Land Management, CA Department of the Interior, Region 10 (California, Great Basin)

    351 Pacu Ln, Suite 100 Bishop, CA 93514 mpoliver@blm.gov 760.872.5035 760.872.5050 (fax)

    My typical schedule is Monday – Thursday 7:00 AM – 5:30 PM


    • Hello, Martin! Check out the Richmond Canyon loop trail, if you haven’t already — lots to see there. The campground is very nice (though various insects can be pesky from time to time). Let me know if you find anything not on the list. Enjoy!

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