Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Spring day on Arizona Highway 79

Here are more pictures from my trip through the Arizona desert.
The Mesquite trees in the desert are often overgrown with parasitic Mistletoe as in the picture below. The Mistletoe often takes over with little of the original tree left to see. The birds eat the berries and spread the seeds through their droppings. The birds also build nests in the Mistletoe which provides good protection for them.

The Chollas are also very odd with strange shapes. In the dark they throw weird shadows indeed.

And brand new Cholla buds forming.

And there is nothing that tops the mighty saguaro cactus. The multiple arms indicate this one is over a hundred years old.
Just a random shot of the Sonoran desert- barren it is not!

And another showing mostly brush and trees

I wish I could label all of these wildflowers for you but I don't know all the names. I look forward to some comments identifying them for me. This first is a Desert Marigold I believe, with a little bug checking it out.

The bugs sure like these- here is a ladybug visiting the bloom.
I stopped by the "Tom Mix" monument and there were tourists posing for "Cowboy" style pictures.

The writing reads "Tom Mix- whose spirit left his body on this spot. And whose characterizations and portrayals in life served to better fix memories of the old west in the minds of living men."


Connie said...

You're right, wildflower #1 is a Desert Marigold. #2 is a desert chicory, which I just learned this year. I decided to do a little experiment in my backyard (in Phoenix) and not pull up weeds until I could identify them - and this was one of the surprises! #3 looks like globe mallow, which is a lot more common in my area in the orange color. #4 looks like nodding onion, perhaps? #5 and 6 are lupine, one of my favorites. #7 is fiddleneck, another one I learned thanks to my backyard "experiment"! I highly recommend the book "Plants of Arizona" by Anne Orth Epple, the photos & descriptions are very clear. I have learned a ton from her.

Diane C. said...

You are so right that the Sonoran Desert is not barren at all! Your cactus and flower pictures are all beautiful. Interesting monument to actor Tom Mix.

Phoenix C. said...

Wonderful photos! I particularly like the cholla with the strange shapes. I bet they look wonderful in the moonlight!

Teri C said...

Wonderful beautiful photos of our favorite desert!! You should join us on Cactus Monday with so much to share.

Anonymous said...

When were these pictures taken?

Dee said...

Thanks for the comments- I especially appreciate all the flowers identified. I'll have to check out the Plants of Arizona book.
All of these pictures were taken on March 10-11 of this year.

Aiyana said...

Great desert tour! The desert is really green right now, but drying fast!
That's the worst case of Mistletoe that I've seen. That tree is lucky to still be alive, but probably not much longer.

Naturegirl said...

Dee: It is wonderful seeing these plants and flowers on your post knowing that I can go outside and see them surrounding me! I love your state..wish I lived her all year round! In the meantime I will savor the time that I am here! a snowbirder..NG

walk2write said...

Springtime is beautiful there in the desert, Dee. That desert marigold looks similar to a coreopsis, a wildflower I'm familiar with from both Illinois and Florida. I'm wondering about the mistletoe. Some researchers think that the mistletoe might not be parasitic but actually beneficial to the trees they "invade" by providing photosynthesis during the trees' winter dormancy. Here in Florida, not too many years ago, epiphytes like mistletoe and Spanish moss were harvested and sold to craft wholesalers and manufacturers. They also had medicinal value to Native Americans. I'm learning to find value in everything nature has to offer. Looks like you are too.

Kathiesbirds said...

Well, you have been out and about! I am waiting for the Mexican poppies to bloom. I have seen a few already! I am busy planting new things in my backyard!

Cheryl Ann said...

That's strange about the mistletoe...I was out and about this afternoon and I saw it in a smoke tree here in our desert!

Deb said...

enjoyed your tour, love the yellow flowers