The Amazing Flowers of the DesertBy
The flowers of the desert are amazing. This is my first spring in the Tucson area and I am soaking in all the colors of Spring. The PaloVerdes trees have been in full bloom for over a month with bright yellow flowers transitioning into lime green new growth. The intense buzzing of the bees over the canopy of flowers is wonderful! The color along the highways cannot be missed. This tree is native to our area.
The Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), pronounced sah-WAH-ro, is one of the defining plants of our Sonoran desert. They can grow to be 150-200 years old. During the flowers’ short life (24 hours), they provide food for bees, bats and doves, who in turn pollinate the flowers. I captured these shots of this Saguaro on my morning walk before I knew the beautiful white flower would not be there tomorrow.
The next stunning beauty is a Trumpet Cactus (Tricholobivia), a member of the Echinopsis genus. Its flower is tender but bright. This is a very small specimen but packs a powerful punch of color. Thanks Roger (our neighborhood expert cactus gardener) for growing this one!
A very abundant type of cactus is the Prickly Pear Cactus, (Genus Opuntia). Many different varieties grow in this region. It can also be found in NC where I was lucky to have a large plant at the end of our drive with bright yellow flowers. The fruit from the Prickly Pear makes tasty jam and syrup. Here are two types in bloom now in my area.
The Fish Hook Barrel Cactus is one of my favorite types of barrel cactus. Its name is derived from its curved spines.
Below is the Chain Fruit Cholla (Opuntia Fulfida). It is also known as the Jumping Cholla, because the 3- to 8-inch joints separate easily and appear, sometimes, to “jump” to attack passersby. These is a gnarly, prickly plant with a pretty bloom but I only want to look at it in someone else’s landscape, not mine. I’m having enough of a hard time not being “attacked” by other cacti. 🙂
I recently spotted the Easter Lily Cactus, (Echinopsis) in a local garden center. It shoots up this delicate flower resembling a lily from its small, rotund shape.
There are many more flowers popping out everywhere, not all of them cacti. It is good to see new life and color in the desert!
Let me hear about your favorite flower spottings!
All the best!
Working with you to create your lifestyles!
Mary Sherwood Lifestyles