What do you imagine when you think of a desert? I think of sand dunes and rattlesnakes. That is not what I found in Tempe. There are 4 deserts in the United States. Phoenix (and the surrounding cities) are a part of the Sonoran desert which extends south into Mexico. Of the 4, the Sonoran receives the most rain, 6 – 8 inches a year. How do I know this wonderful information? It’s because we spent a day at the Desert Botanical Garden and I was educated about deserts!
I hope you don’t get bored with all the pictures in this post. I’ll tell you straight out that I don’t remember most of the names of the cactus’ and plants.
The native Americans called the Mesquite tree, the Tree of Life. They used every part of it. The ground up the seed pods and used it for flour. They were selling Mesquite flour in the gift shop, but we didn’t want to spend $14 for a pound of it, so I can’t tell you how it really tastes.
I think this is an Aloe Vera but I don’t guarantee it. Aloe Vera is NOT a member of the Agave family.
I think this is an Agave, but that definitely is a prickly pear cactus on the right side and in the background are more mesquite trees.
I don’t know what this little guy is called. He had long “hair”. My daughter felt the “hair” and said it was coarse, like the switch of a cow tail.
The plant on the right is blooming and the left plant has already bloomed and formed fruit. Again, I don’t know what they are. I guess I should have taken notes, but I was supposed to be on vacation!
There are several varieties of prickly pear cacti. The one on the right is a red variety.
They had this cute sun-dial too. It was noon when we were there.
I’m not a rock climber. If I were, I would have tried to climb this sandstone thing. It is not as close as it looks.
I pretty sure this was called a “Christmas Cactus”. It looks nothing like my Christmas Cactus. The thorns on this thing were at least 3 inches long!
Cyclamen are not a native southwestern flower, at least I don’t think they are. Around here they are a house plant, but at the entrance to the garden they had them growing in flower beds.
Saguaro cactus take a long time to grow but can live for 200 – 300 years. They start as a tiny black seed. When they are 10 years, they are the size of a little finger. Not all Saguaro’s develop arms, but if they do, they won’t grow before they are 75 years old. I thought I had a picture of one from the botanical garden, but I don’t.
Just a couple more plants that I don’t know the name of.
I’m going to close with this picture of a road runner that was sitting in a tree. He must have been used to people because he just sat there and let everyone take his picture.
Thankfully I never saw any snakes!