Sierra Nevada Flora

Relatively immobile and often highly visible, plants are typically the first organisms people notice in a landscape. Plant distributions are strongly tied to environmental factors and can be very useful when describing ecosystems and life zones.

There is an incredible diversity of trees, shrubs, grasses, forbs, and vines, with more than 1,450 native and 275 non-native plant species in Yosemite National Park and 1,200 species in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks. Not only that, but new species are still being discovered. For instance, one group of researchers noticed something peculiar when they examined old records of orchid species in Yosemite. There was a species listed that was typically found only in the southern Rockies. Because Yosemite is so far from the Rockies, they suspected it might actually be a different species. Using the past records for guidance, the researchers searched wet meadows south of Yosemite Valley for the mysterious orchid. They eventually found it, determined that it was actually a new species of orchid, and named it the Yosemite bog orchid (Platanthera yosemitensis) in 2007.


More Information


More information on the plants can be found here on the Yosemite National Parks website, along with plant lists for conifersfernssensitive plantsexotic species and a general flora list. There is also a park-wide vegetation map that provides general information.


Sequoia Kings Canyon

More information about the plants in Sequoia Kings Canyon can be found here, along with a vascular plant list. There is also a list of the 30 biggest giant sequoias and their approximate locations. You can also read information about the many non-native plant species in Sequoia Kings Canyon.

COVID-19 and the SNRS

Updated 4/20/2020

The following represents current guidance for the UC Merced Natural Reserve System. We reserve the right to cancel any reservation to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff, and to revise policies in the event of specific campus, state, NRS, NPS, or CDC guidance.

Yosemite Field Station: 

  • All visits are cancelled through the end of April, 2020.
  • In April, and pending resolution of the statewide "shelter-in-place" order issued by Governor Newsom, we anticipate allowing only visits that support essential research (i.e., place-based scholarly activities and programs that cannot reasonably be conducted elsewhere or rescheduled for a later date). Any essential research visitor groups must be 10 or fewer people. Approval is subject to the availability of housing that can allow for appropriate social distancing while staying at the field station.
  • Processing of all *new* reservations for May through August 2020 is on hold, as we develop our plans for allowing future use of the field station. We will issue updated guidance for May and beyond as the situation evolves.

Sequoia Field Station:  The field station remains closed for the winter, but re-opening may be impacted by COVID-19.

Any queries about SNRS reservations can be directed to Breezy Jackson, bjackson10@ucmerced.edu, (209) 628-5758.