What's new

Blooming in the Sonoran Desert

Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I’ve always liked cactus, and after we moved out to the Phoenix area from the East Coast I've had the opportunity to actually grow some outside. I’ve been eying the photos in the CP threads and though I would post a few of the desert plants that are currently blooming in my front yard:

Astrophytum myriostigma – Bishop’s Cap:
BishopsCap20070318.jpg


Baileya multiradiata – Desert-marigold:
DesertMarigold20070318.jpg


Calliandra eriophylla – Fairy Duster
FairyDuster20070318.jpg


Aloe barbadensis – Aloe vera, Medicinal aloe
MedicinalAloe20070318.jpg


Fouquieria splendens – Ocotillo
Ocotillo20070318-01.jpg


Fouquieria splendens – Ocotillo (just about ready to burst open)
Ocotillo20070318-02.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
JLAP – thanks. The Aloe is one of the few plants that survived the move out here. We had it in a 6” pot and it was maybe 6” tall. After it’s been in the ground a few years it’s now spread out into a 3’x3’ area – guess it’s pretty happy.

As my other plants bloom I’ll add more photos here.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
A couple more.

Agave parryi - Parry Agave (this one won't bloom till it's ready to die):
ParryAgave20070324.jpg


Eremophila maculata v. brevifolia - Emu Bush:
EmuBush20070324.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Some more.

Euphorbia antisyphilitica - Candelilla:
Candelilla20070407.jpg


Berlandiera lyrata - Chocolate Flower (really smells like chocolate):
ChocolateFlower20070407.jpg


Fouquieria splendens - Ocotillo:
Ocotillo20070407.jpg


Cephalocereus senilis - Old Man Cactus (haven't see this guy bloom yet):
OldMan20070407.jpg


Hesperaloe parvifloria - Red Hesperaloe:
RedHesperaloe20070407.jpg


Aloe saparonia - Tiger Aloe:
TigerAloe20070407.jpg


Hesperaloe parvifloria 'Yellow' - Yellow Hesperaloe:
YellowHesperaloe20070407.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Two more.

Cylindropuntia ramosissima - Diamond Cholla:
DiamondCholla20070501.jpg


Cereus hildmannianus ssp. uruguayanus - Hedge Cactus:
HedgeCactus.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
65
Location
England, UK
Plenty of nice stuff there - i like the Berlandiera lyrata - here I grow Cosmos atrosangiunius which also smells of choclate.

Best regards

Chris
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Chris – thanks. I’m not familiar with Cosmos atrosangiunius, but we do really enjoy the chocolate aroma from the Berlandiera lyrata. Our plants typically bloom after we get some rain and the aroma is fairly strong – you don’t have to put your nose up to the flowers to smell them.

joossa – thanks. It took a few years before our plant bloomed. The blooms always start in the evening, and by lunch they’re gone. I took a picture at night with a flash, and the one I posted I took early in the morning. The flowers are around 6” across and the flower stalks are around 8”.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Only one cactus in this group, but like all of the plants in this thread they live in the same hot/dry environment with no artificial water.

Viguiera deltoidea parishii - Desert Sunflower:
DesertSunflower20070505.jpg


Cercidium microphyllum - Littleleaf Palo Verde (it took about 10 years for this guy to bloom):
LittleleafPaloVerde20070505.jpg


Lophocereus schottii forma monstrosus - Totem Pole Cactus (Haven't noticed this one bloom yet):
TotemPoleCactus20070505.jpg


Psilostrophe cooperi - Paper Flower:
PaperFlower20070505.jpg
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
joossa - I think I'm more than half way through our desert plants - still waiting for some to bloom!

I don’t recall a strong sent from our aloe. There are still a few Aloe saparonia blooming, and they only have a very slight hint of a vanilla. The Berlandiera lyrata has the strongest scent – when it’s blooming you can smell it without having to bend down to smell it.

We used to live back East, and our desert blooms aren’t as fragrant as the flowers coming up in the Spring back there. As I recall you can walk by many types of flowers and smell the different fragrances. Out here you typically pick up aroma right after a rain storm. The air smells like the desert – it’s a mixture of the dirt being washed off things, the creosote bushes, and other shrubs and trees – slightly acrid – it’s actually a rather pleasant aroma that I look forward to after a good rain (the Sonoran Desert Toads also come out after we get some good rain – but that’s a different story).
 

joossa

Aklys
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
2,049
Location
Southern CA, USA
I know what you mean by the post-desert rainstorm aroma. I live in the high desert east of LA and when it rains the area gets a distinctive smell. Unfortunately, we have had almost no rain this season(about 1in IIRC).
 

Est

War. War never changes.
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Messages
4,169
Location
Pasadena, CA
Awesome! I love the desert and all of the plants and animals that inhabit them.

I think I've still got Gold and Silver Cholla spines stuck in the bottom of my shoe from my last trip. :p Thanks for sharing. :)
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Est – yeah – those spins really stick! A lot of them, like Cholla, have spines that look like simple needles, but actually have a barb on the tip, so they “stick”’ when then get stuck. A secret to removing them is to use a comb between your skin/clothes and the plant and comb them off. I’ve had to do it a number of times. :blush:

nepenthes ak – yeah, that one of my favorites too! It’s about 12’ x 4’ now (it was about 4’ x 2’ when we bought it 10 or so years ago). It’s virtually spineless, and the “bumps’ in it are very distinctive. The secret to getting it to grow bumpy is to not water it - tt grows slower but gets more bumps. It’s grown so well that I’ve had to cut off a couple of branches, which I let scale over, then re-plant around our house, so now we have four of them.

Here are some more that are blooming now.

Encelia farinosa – Brittlebush:
Brittlebush20070505.jpg


Penstemon baccharifolius – RockPenstemon (just started blooming):
RockPenstemon20070512.jpg


Dyssodia acerosa – Shrubby Dogweed (we have a few patches of these – the seeds just blew in during storms and make themselves at home):
ShrubbyDogweed20070512.jpg


Carnegiea gigantean – Saguaro (what Sonoran desert garden wouldn’t be complete without one of these? I got a picture with a bee happily starting to dig down into the flower on the right):
Saguaro20070512.jpg
 

Est

War. War never changes.
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 18, 2004
Messages
4,169
Location
Pasadena, CA
Est – yeah – those spins really stick! A lot of them, like Cholla, have spines that look like simple needles, but actually have a barb on the tip, so they “stick”’ when then get stuck. A secret to removing them is to use a comb between your skin/clothes and the plant and comb them off. I’ve had to do it a number of times.

Haha, thanks for the tip! The fact that at least the Silver and Golden/Buckhorn Chollas have a papery sheath around each spine really doesn't help the matter. Sometime you just rip the sheath or it's too slippery to grip. For the real though ones we used some tweezers, but I'll have to give the comb trick the next time I get stuck.

By the way, I'm loving the new pictures. Oh how I long for the desert... :sigh: lol

(And a Taxnomic note:
Buckhorn Cholla- Opuntia acanthocarpa
Silver Cholla- Opuntia echinocarpa


BTW Here's a link of a TF topic I made a while back with some of the pictures to my last trip to the Mojave. Mojave Desert Topic. I'm quite certain that I actually saw a few plants on the trip that you've posted here, Encelia farinosa, for one, I believe. :)
 
Last edited:
Joined
Dec 17, 2006
Messages
50
Location
Phoenix, AZ
nepenthes_ak – yeah, me too. It’s actually really easy to get them with the Saguaro – the bees always seem to be buzzing in and out of the flowers all day long.

Est – yeah, I just got back from a 2 day trip to MD – it’s nice to be back in the dry heat. Nice pics in your link – we don’t have that all of that fauna in our front yard. When we’re out in the desert I enjoy seeing how some of our plants look when they’re growing in the wild too.
 
Top