Science

Ecology Overview

Fort Verde State Historic Park is located on 11.5 acres in Camp Verde in north central Arizona. The park has a museum, demonstration gardens, historic buildings, and great views of the surrounding cliffs. The visitor center and museum are located in an historic adobe building with locally collected building materials.

The vegetation at Fort Verde can be divided into two categories, developed and natural. The developed areas have demonstration gardens with native, xeric plants. The visitor center demonstration garden includes deer vetch (Lotus rigidus), verbena spp., winterfat (Ceratoides lantana), autumn sage (Salvia greggii), penstemon spp., zinnia spp., flame anisacanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii), wooly butterfly bush (Buddleia marrubifolia), chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata), Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa), turpentine bush (Ericameria laricifolia), and desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata). The vegetable garden demonstrates a prehistoric planting practice known as the “three sisters method” where corn, beans, and squash are planted together. The corn supports the beans and they both shade the squash. The vegetation in the natural areas of the park consists of mesquite (Prosopis sp.), prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), juniper (Juniperus spp.), saltbush (Atriplex spp.), and greythorn (Ziziphus obtusifolia).

Commonly seen animals in the park include coyote (Canis latrans), javelina (Pecari angulatus), and kit fox (Vulpes macrotis). Ranger Dennis Lockhart told the story of a resident kit fox who first selected the Commander’s Quarters to den beneath. She has since moved to underneath the Surgeon’s Quarters and recently raised three kits successfully.

Like many areas of Arizona, Fort Verde State Historic Park is also home to non-native plants and animals. These non-native species arrive in a variety of ways; some species have been accidentally introduced and humans introduced some purposefully. Here, you will find the non-native Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) used as landscaping.