Sunday, January 15, 2012

Arroyo El Camino Cactus Garden

[Near Lake Havasu City, AZ]

I've been trying to learn about desert plants and as luck would have it there's a cactus garden in the state park next to where I'm living.  So, I've been starting every day with a walk in the cactus garden.

This is a creosote bush and is one of the most common plants in the desert.  They can live for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years.  Most leafy plants in the dessert have thorns to keep away grazing animals but the creosote plant doesn't need them because most animals find the leaves to have have a unpleasant bitter flavor.

Another very common desert plant is the prickly pear cactus.  I've seen a lot of these prickly pears that don't have thorns (so why prickly pear?).  I've also seen them referred to as Santa Rosa Prickly Pear and Pancake Prickly Pear.  They often align themselves to point the narrow side to the sun to conserve moisture.

What do you think, is this a roadrunner? (haven't seen a coyote around)

I'd call this a Bunny Ear Cactus but really it's a Saguaro.  They don't start developing arms until they're about 50 years old.

 This is an Agave plant.  I was confusing them with a Yucca but I think I've got them straight now.  Couldn't find a Yucca in this garden though.

Aloe Vera plant.

Now doesn't this Pancake Prickly Pear-- it's got tinges of purple on it's "leaves"-- look a lot like the Purple Prickly Pear?

Bunny Ears Cactus.

Beaver Tail Cactus.  Kind of like the Purple Prickly Pear and Pancake Cactus.  I think they're just making this stuff up...

Everyone else calls this a Barrel Cactus-- now I'm sure they're making this up as they go along.

Barrel Cactus's are my fav... just can't have too many pictures of them.

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