Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Walk in the Desert

 It was a great day for a walk in the desert so we headed for the Sonoran Desert. We walked the Brown Mt. loop trail.
 The prettiest plant blooming today was the ocotillo. This plant can reach heights to 20 ft. and can live  60 to 100 years.
The Ocotillo is called many different things including Candlewood, Slimwood and Coachwhip.

We did spot a hedgehog cactus in bloom. Like the hedgehog itself, it is covered in spiky "quills". It is one of the cactus varieties that feature bright-colored flowers.



I think this is a  Buckhorn Cholla. It has a whole bunch of spines in each cluster on the stem.

 Chain Fruit Cholla are a large tree-like cactus which can grow to a height of 12 ft. or more.

This cholla provides shelter and food for several animals.
I saved my favorite for last...the Saguaro. Saguaro flowers are usually found near the tops of the stems and arms. Below is a close-up of the picture on the left.
 The blooms are white and about 3 inches in diameter. They have a strong smell...described as an overripe melon. This Saguaro was way too tall for me to get a sniff.
 During the day, the flowers are pollinated by bees and birds and at night by the bats. I just happened to get this picture of a Gila Woodpecker.  As the first picture shows there were two stems. I snapped just as he flew from one to the other.

 He was sure doing his job today! After the flowers have been pollinated they mature into bright red fruit. When the fruit ripens, it splits open showing juicy red pulp. Each fruit can contain up to 2,000 small black seeds.
Saguaro flowers bloom for less than 24 hours. They open at night and remain open through the next day. They only have that very short time to attract an animal to be pollinated. It was for sure my lucky day!
 The Taylors sure had another wonderful day...hope you did as well. Thanks for visiting today!
Y'all come back!


  1. Beautiful pictures again! I really have learned to love the desert. There is so much to see. We made it to Cortez today and will be heading to Mesa Verde tomorrow. Have fun!

  2. You sure have some beautiful pictures. We love the desert in bloom.

  3. I can't even begin to tell you how jealous I am that you are in the blooming desert! Thanks for posting so many photos. What a great find...a flower on the saguaro!

    We did the Brown Mt. hike also. There is a crested saguaro shortly after you begin on the left side.

    Keep those desert blooms coming!

  4. GREAT photos today, the Gila Woodpecker in flight is spectacular! Isn't it wonderful to get a shot like that? :) Thanks for showing us.

  5. I agree with Barbara! Like the flying Woodpecker photos best!

  6. Oh wow, perfect shot of the Gila Woodpecker! And you are indeed lucky to be in the middle of the blooming Saguaro flowers. I would love to be back there when this happens. Great pictures.

  7. These images are amazing!! I am really impressed. The woodpecker shots are great. One of my favorite shots so far is the buckhorn cholla. Simply beautiful. :)