2024 - Snyder Preserve Plant Walk

Welcome to the Snyder Preserve


About the Snyder Preservation Area:

Located in the lush Tanque Verde Valley of Tucson, Arizona, the Snyder Preserve is a pristine 16.5-acre wildlife refuge established through the generous legacy gift of Dr. Richard G. Snyder to the University of Arizona's School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE). Surrounded by the majestic Catalina, Agua Caliente, and Rincon Mountains, this unique area serves both as a sanctuary for diverse wildlife and as a field school for aspiring conservation scientists.



Project Background:

The Snyder Preserve was once part of a larger 640-acre cattle ranch with historic ties to the Old West, including scenes filmed for the "High Chaparral" series. Today, it stands as a beacon of conservation, featuring three large ponds, an island, nearly 200 iconic Saguaro cacti, and a diverse array of resident fauna including bobcats, coyotes, javalinas, mule deer, rabbits, lizards, snakes, rodents and a multitude of bird species (>100). The property's layout includes six trails that allow for immersive educational experiences in a variety of ecological niches.


Our Vision:

The Arboretum Project at Snyder Preserve is designed to transform this vibrant ecosystem into a living classroom. The project's centerpiece is a Plant Walk featuring native flora, each identified by signage with QR codes linking to detailed web pages. These pages contain comprehensive information about the botanical characteristics, ecological roles, and ethnobotanical values of each species.


Goals of the UArizona Campus Arboretum Project:


Educational Outreach:

To provide a hands-on learning environment for students and visitors, enhancing their understanding of desert ecology and conservation practices.


Conservation Awareness:

To foster a deeper appreciation for Arizona's native plant species and their roles in local ecosystems.


Community Engagement:

To engage with the local and academic communities through interactive learning opportunities and collaborative conservation efforts.


Learn about the plant species at the Snyder Preserve:

Botanical Family

Scientific Name

Common Name

Bean Family Fabaceae  Acacia constricta  whitethorn acacia 
Bean Family Fabaceae  Acacia greggii  catclaw acacia 
Asparagus Family Asparagaceae Agave palmeri Palmer's agave
Daisy Family Asteraceae Ambrosia ambrosioides  canyon ragweed
Buckwheat Family Amaranthaceae Atriplex canescens  fourwing saltbush
Daisy Family Asteraceae Baccharis sarothroides  desert broom
Bean Family Fabaceae  Calliandra eriophylla fairyduster
Cactus Family Cactaceae Carnegiea gigantea  saguaro 
Hemp Family Cannabaceae Celtis pallida spiny/desert hackberry 
Hemp Family Cannabaceae Celtis laevigata netleaf hackberry
Cactus Family Cactaceae Mammillaria grahamii Graham's pincushion cactus
Cactus Family Cactaceae Cylindropuntia fulgida chain-fruit cholla
Cactus Family Cactaceae Cylindropuntia imbricata  tree cholla
Cactus Family Cactaceae Cylindropuntia leptocaulis  christmas cholla
Cactus Family Cactaceae Cylindropuntia thurberi  Thurber's cholla
Asparagus Family Asparagaceae Dasylirion wheeleri  sotol 
Soapberry Family Sapindaceae Dodonaea viscosa hopseed bush
Cactus Family Cactaceae Echinocereus engelmannii  Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus
Cactus Family Cactaceae Echinocereus fendleri pinkflower hedgehog cactus 
Daisy Family Asteraceae Encelia farinosa brittlebush
Ephedra Family Ephedraceae Ephedra trifurca  jointfir/mormon tea
Bean Family Fabaceae  Erythrina flabelliformis coralbean
Cactus Family Cactaceae Ferocactus cylindraceus California barrel bactus
Cactus Family Cactaceae Ferocactus emoryi  Emory’s barrel cactus
Cactus Family Cactaceae Ferocactus wislizenii fishhook barrel cactus 
Olive Family Oleaceae Forestiera shrevei  desert olive
Ocotillo Family Fouquieriaceae Fouquieria macdougalii tree ocotillo
Ocotillo Family Fouquieriaceae Fouquieria splendens ocotillo
Daisy Family Asteraceae Isocoma tenuisecta  burroweed
Spurge Family Euphorbiaceae Jatropha cardiophylla heartleaflimberbush
Spurge Family Euphorbiaceae Jatropha cuneata  physicnut 
Caltrop Family Zygophyllaceae Larrea tridentata  creosote bush
Cactus Family Cactaceae Lophocereus schottii senita cactus
Bean Family Fabaceae  Olneya tesota desert ironwood
Cactus Family Cactaceae Opuntia sp.  prickly pear cactus 
Cactus Family Cactaceae Pachycereus pringlei  cardon
Bean Family Fabaceae  Parkinsonia florida blue palo verde
Bean Family Fabaceae  Parkinsonia microphylla littleleaf palo verde
Cactus Family Cactaceae Peniocereus greggii nightblooming cereus
Sandalwood Family Santalaceae Phoradendron californicum  mesquite mistletoe 
Willow Family Salicaceae Populus fremontii  Freemont cottonwood
Bean Family Fabaceae  Prosopis velutina  velvet mesquite 
Daisy Family Asteraceae Psilostrophe cooperi  whitestem paperflower
Willow Family Salicaceae Salix gooddingii  Gooddings willow 
Jojoba Family Simmondsiaceae Simmondsia chinensis  jojoba
Cactus Family Cactaceae Stenocereus thurberi organpipe cactus
Asparagus Family Asparagaceae Yucca baccata banana yucca 
Asparagus Family Asparagaceae Yucca elata  soaptree yucca
Daisy Family Asteraceae Zinnia acerosa desert zinnia 
Buckthorn Family Rhamnaceae Ziziphus obtusifolia greythorn 


Get Involved:

Whether you're a student, educator, researcher, or nature enthusiast, the Snyder Preserve offers a unique opportunity to explore and contribute to conservation science. We are developing program for visitors to enjoy guided tours, participate in workshops, and engage in citizen science projects. For more information on visiting, contributing to, or collaborating with the Snyder Preserve, please contact: Dr. Willem Van Leeuwen Associate Director, School of Natural Resources and the Environment Phone: 520-626-0058 Email: leeuw@arizona.edu



We thank Dr. Snyder for his visionary gift and invite you to join us in preserving and learning from this extraordinary natural refuge. Donate to the Snyder Preserve Fund Your support helps us maintain the preserve and expand our educational programs. UA Students and employees involved in this project include: Addie Leimroth (BS, Natural Resources: Wildlife Conservation), Tanya Quist (Professor & Campus Arboretum Director), Brian Rasmussen (Campus Arboretum Curator), and Wim van Leeuwen (Professor SNRE)


This project was completed by University of Arizona Undergraduate student Addie Leimroth (photo left). Addie is pursuing a B. S. degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis on Wildlife Conservation and Management with an expected graduation date in 2026. 

May, 2024