Monday, April 14, 2014

April in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert

April in the Arizona-Sonora desert is usually a wonderful time. Daytime highs are in the 80's and 90's, with the nights cool and pleasant. This is also when the desert really starts blooming. Wild flowers, trees and cacti all get into the act. What follows are some photos of this spring flowering taken in April 2013 and April 2014.

The first series of photos, five in all, focus on brittle bush. Brittle bush is a common small shrub of the Arizona-Sonoran desert. It is called brittle bush because it's woody stems are brittle. There is always brittle bush blooming in the spring; some years much more plentiful than others, depending on rain fall. These photos of brittle bush are all from April 2013, off the Four Peaks road north of Phoenix. 

 In the photo below is a barrel cactus with green palo verde trees in the background, which have not yet put out their yellow blossoms. I believe the small orange flower is a globe mallow.

The next three photos are of ocotillo. Ocotillo is a woody plant with long slender branches reaching up from the ground. They have an orange blossom on them in April. If you cut one of the branches off and bury the cut end in the ground it will grow. In southern Arizona it was common to do this,  weaving the ocotillo with wire fence, creating a living fence. Very good for a small corral. An added bonus is that the ocotillo has very sharp thorns. In my experience they tend to grow on rocky hillsides, sometimes in thickets. A helluva place to have to get a cow out of.

The next two photos are of palo verde trees. They are called palo verde because they have green bark. They cover themselves with yellow blossoms in April. One of my favorite trees. These two photos were taken this April in a wash on the Florence-Kelvin “highway”. The small orange blossoms in front of one of the palo verdes is globe mallow, I think.

The last photo is of a hedgehog cactus in bloom, taken off the Four Peaks road. The hedgehog grows close to the ground and has this beautiful blossom. A favorite cactus  of mine. 


  1. Wow nice photos of the polo verde and you didn't even have to photograph the ones along the free way. I took some pictures of the same ocotillo and they didn't look as good as yours. I guess it takes talent to take beautiful pictures. Cheryl