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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Palo Verdes bloom big in 2012

The Palo Verde bloom this spring is spectacular. As I look across the valley, I can see ribbons of yellow blossoms. This year has been an exceptional bloom season for our state tree. For those whose mental picture of the desert resembles something from a Roadrunner cartoon, it might come as a surprise to know that the Sonoran desert does have trees. And Tucson has lots of them.

This is a CARTOON desert!

Desert trees are short in stature with small leaves to help conserve water. The Palo Verde, which means "green stick" in Spanish, earns its name from its green trunk and branches. It doesn't even require leaves for photosynthesis. In those years when rain is extremely scarce, Palo Verdes don't die. Instead, they just shed their leaves to conserve their water stores until the rains return.

Palo Verde Trees
Foothills Palo Verde
View looking back at the house.


Palo Verde Trees
Plentiful spring rain made this a great bloom season.
View from the bottom of the driveway.


Palo Verde Trees
View from the catio.
Yellow from the Palo Verde blossoms dot the landscape...


Palo Verde Trees
...all the way to the horizon!
View from the catio.
Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Gambel's Quail in a Mesquite tree

Quail usually scurry along on the ground, but occasionally they will perch in trees or atop a cactus. While strolling through the neighborhood today, I first heard, and then spotted this male Gambel's quail.
Male Gambel's Quail in a Mesquite Tree
Male Gambel's Quail in a Mesquite Tree