Southwestern Desert Scenes

Some days the sky of the desert-southwest may be brilliant blue without a trace of a cloud; however, isolated cotton balls of white frequently add a striking contrast but little hope of rain. In the late afternoon during the summer isolated thunderstorms may appear and provide brief moisture to small areas. Plants must be able to capture the moisture from such brief moments in order to survive. Cacti are well suited for survival in the desert. The thorns provide protection from animals, shade from the sun, and their shallow roots pick up moisture rapidly and store it in within a thick but flexible structure. The ocotillo appears to be a collection of dead sticks, but after a brief shower brilliant red blossoms will appear within a few days. The small green leaves may remain for a month or longer.

Contact: w8watson@hughes.net

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