Devils Orchard is a flat tangled array in Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, USA.
The Devils Orchard Trail in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho, is a virtually flat, strangely bizarre, ½ mile (0.8 KM), wheelchair accessible trail where large lava fragments coexist within cinder fields interrupted by tangled vegetation.
A long time ago, a man of the cloth astutely observed that only the devil could survive here.
Newly paved and recently re-opened path leads through Devils Orchard which is a jumble of volcanic rock, surrounded by a wide variety of trees and plants. There are large numbers of dead trees in various stages of decomposition spanning hundreds of years.
Many rocks are covered with several varieties of multi-colored lichen which gradually dissolve the rock to create soil where higher forms of plant life can progressively take root and slowly break up the volcanic rock over hundreds of years.
Eventually, sufficient soil will be created to support large trees. Large and old Limber Pine trees were malformed in Devils Orchard by a small parasitic plant known as Dwarf Mistletoe. This causes the tree to become disfigured. The parasite usually reduces the longevity of the tree but does not out-right kill the tree.
Well-intentioned park management staff took care of killing them before the relationship between the plants was understood. Limber Pines were altered by Dwarf Mistletoe to create 'witches broom' on the branches.
Dwarf Buckwheat dots large plains of black cinder. It is a very beautiful mosaic.
Following a very pleasant and educational stroll through Devils Orchard, a short drive around the road loop to the next exhibit at Inferno Cone will illustrate how different volcano types contribute to the diversity of the terrain.