Locality: Southeast of Camp Verde, the area is part of a drainage basin north of the Verde River in the lower elevations of the Verde Valley in central Arizona. (34.494080, -111.758210)
Abstract: The site of an ongoing PAPAZ (Plant Atlas Project for Arizona) study, the Tent Rocks / Cottonwood Basin area contains a combination of unique geological features and several perennial springs in the lower elevations of the Verde Valley southeast of Camp Verde. The underlying volcanic tuff soils seem to support an unusually rich flora of both annual and perennial wildflowers in upper Sonoran desert scrub habitat, and the springs add riparian diversity and interest (and shade) to the study site. The site is under Coconino National Forest management, and is accessed via State Highway 260 as it heads east from Camp Verde. Take USFS Road # 708 south towards Childs one mile to Rd. # 500, which skirts the north edge of the Tent Rocks tuff formations, before turning south to Cottonwood and Mesquite Springs and ultimately the Verde River. Rd.#708 is well graded and passable in most vehicles, but #500 requires high clearance. Hiking is of moderate difficulty, and is all cross country with little shade except near the springs, but with only modest elevation differences. A working list based on observations in the area contains 312 species of vascular plants, of which 261 have been documented with voucher collections to date. The study area was expanded in 2010 to include part of Wingfield Mesa to the west, and the rest of the main wash below both springs down to the Verde River.