Cacti and Wildflowers

Diposkan oleh alexandria joseph | 02.00


The pink wild tubular flowers of Parry's Penstemon let us know that spring has arrived in the desert southwest.  The background shows us a variety of the Cephalocereus senilis or Old Man Cactus. 

My favorite part about exploring the Boyce Thompson Arboretum has been the wild displays of cacti/succulent groupings along with the bright colors of the wildflowers.  They began in March and continue throughout April into May.  While our Tucson wildflower season here wasn't the best (because we didn't get the required amount of rain needed during our winter months), the Arboretum is situated in a different part of the desert that receives more rain. Here are some amazing plants that add punch to our landscape during the months of April and May.

This is Globemallow-genus Sphaeralcea in the mallow family (Malvaceae)-and one of my favorites.

As I was walking towards Ayer Lake, I couldn't help but stop and notice all the wonderful cacti displays.  It was incredible and it was apparent as there were many people studying how they were all grouped together.  Fantastic stuff!!

The bumpy ones are called the Totem Pole Cactus.

I started running out of water during this part of the trail as it was sunnier so bring several bottles with you before you begin the hike. 


The colors of many of our wildflowers attract pollinators like the hummingbird and butterfly to visit.  Notice the tubular shape that allows for long beaks:)

Barrel Cactus at its best!!!  I love when people use this cactus in a repeating form.

I LOVE barrel cactus.  Well I should say that I don't like a barrel cactus, but several placed together.  They add structure to a garden and there were two very large displays of these slow growing cacti together.  It was quite an impressive display.  The first grouping was under a mesquite tree in part shade although they can take full sun.



A pumphouse creates this artificial waterfall and the Ayer lake below.  What I found interesting was that there was a colony of prickly pear cactus on the top right next to the water.   Normally a cactus will rot with too much water, but this colony seems to thrive.

Ayer Lake in March.  The grasses are still brown but they will green up as it gets warmer.

There are a lot of breathtaking views off the main trail hike.  Rock formations are outstanding as are the cacti displays.  Together, they equal perfection.


My favorite pic is right below this writing.  The Saguaro is a healthy and older member of the garden.


You'll also see other fun trees around the various trails.  Below is a boojum tree. There were two.  One was younger and this one is much older.


This was definitely worth the hike.  My advice is to begin this part of the trail earlier so that you can enjoy these plants without the intense heat beating you down.  The other parts of the trail are shadier and breezier, but this particular route can be brutal during the late morning/afternoon hours....especially during this time of year.


I just love the look of a hairy cactus.  I have several at El Presidio and they remind me of my days in Cuzco, Peru.  Tomorrow, I'll unfortuneatly have to conclude my series on this fantastic voyage.  And yet a new voyage will begin.  I am currently working on yet another adventure that will be online in September.  My weekends are always full of fun and adventure with some exciting finds.  I look forward to sharing some info from a NASA presentation this past weekend in what looks to be an exciting two weeks of adventure and imagination in space PLUS my tropical month long Panama trip will follow.  So much to write and so little time to do it all.  Until then......


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