Scottsdale, AZ – Weather has a huge impact on the life and times of desert plants. Here in the arid Sonoran Desert, plants are designed to slurp up every spare drop of moisture and keep it stored in their tissues to sustain them through the blazing hot summer.
The barren looking rocky soil covering the desert floor is actually full of tiny sleeping seeds, occasionally stirred awake by the right combination of moisture and temperature.
An exceptionally wet fall and winter triggers a progression of new growth that only happens regionally once in a decade. In those unusual years, delicate wildflowers begin to pop up between February and April, painting entire hillsides with unexpected color. California poppy, lupine, owl clover and desert marigold begin the show, supplying meadows with both warm and cool colors right off an artist’s paint palette. Desert larkspur, scorpion weed, chicory and chia add pops of color and texture to the mix.
Cactus flowers in brilliant hues that rival any tropical blossom come next. Hedgehog, prickly pear, cholla and many other cactus erupt with color. Cream colored bouquets of banana yucca dot the landscape and resemble the soft light of burning candles glowing in the late afternoon sunlight.
The grand finale comes when the queen of the Sonoran Desert makes her showy nod to spring. Towering up to 45 feet in height, the the Sonoran Desert iconic saguaro wears a crown of creamy white flowers at the top of each arm. A single saguaro can produce up to 100 flowers every season with especially rich nectar. Waxy and firm, each blossom attracts a variety of creatures to share in the sweet bounty.
The blossoms open only during the night and remain open for less than 24 hours then wilts, never to bloom again. At night, bats love to visit the saguaro and can perch on the sturdy edge of the flowers. The next morning, bees and birds such as the hummingbird and white winged dove make frequent visits while the bloom is still open.
The Sonoran Desert is often perceived as an inhospitable environment, lacking color and life. Springtime is its time to remind the world that it is very much alive and full of wonder. Don’t miss the chance to track wonder in unexpected places.
Happy spring tracking!
Cultivate Wonder… Discover Design
Images: SPegany ©2019