Friday, February 22, 2008

Desert Plants project, Mesa, AZ (Fri.2/22)

(an official assignment for Levi and Elan -- pictures and text are theirs -- description follows pic)

For our family, it was a big change from the cold, even harsh, Minnesota winter to the 70
degrees in Arizona's deserts. We managed. We had a very fun, beautiful hike up a small
mountain with our grandparents. We took some plant pictures (below) but mostly we
were just enjoying the amazing desert that surrounded us.


The Ocotillo is not a “true” cactus because it grows real leaves. It only grows flowers and leaves after it rains. It is mostly pollinated by bees and found in the Sonoran Desert.


The saguaro is the state flower and they can be 50 feet tall a and live to be 200 years old. It has 3 in. oval, green fruit that ripens just before the fall rainy season. The Saguaro is home to many small animals.

Prickly Pear Cactus

This cactus is found in all American Southwest deserts. They produce red yellow or even purple flowers. Their pads, fruits, seeds, and flowers are all edible. (side note -- we got to try prickly pear fruit ice cream!)

Teddy Bear Cholla

The teddy Bear Cholla can be 3-5 feet tall and prefers to grow facing south below 3000 ft. Its spines help keep it cool and protect the cactus from animals. Yellow-green flowers bloom in spring. The plant is native to Arizona,California and Mexico.

Chain Fruit Cholla

The Chain Fruit Cholla is a shrubby cactus and lives in dry sandy soils. You could find pink and white flowers on this plant. It can grow 15 feet high and it's “chains” can grow up to 2 feet. It is found in the Sonoran and Chihuahua Deserts.

Barrel cactus

Barrel cactus's can grow to be ten feet high and can live to be 130 years old. Flowers grow at the top of the plant and it's fruits can be eaten. It has a shallow root system but it is spread over a large area.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks fellas, we loved your pictures & commentary about the amazing cactus family.