Sunday, April 29, 2007

Desert Wildflowers : Violet

It's been another wonderful if not late spring bloom for desert wildflowers, especially cacti, which are flowering more widely and in more colors---especially prickly pear and cholla---than I have seen in the last seven years we've been in Tucson.

So I took a walk around the neighborhood this morning and afternoon and snapped about 300 photos or so, and over the next week I'll post about 50, one color each day. Let's start with violet (and shades thereof):

One of the many autumn sages, which hummingbirds and sphinx moths love---as do my daughters, who pull off the flowers and suck out the nectar.

Macro shot of an Asian poppy in my neighbor's backyard. Fairly psychedelic, eh?

Just in the last week the desert willows have really exploded. Their wispy, orchid-like flowers range from nearly white to deep fuscia.

The delightful yellow hesperaloe, a succulent, which gets its name, as you'll see below, not from its pink buds but its yellow flowers---unless you call it red yucca, which some folks do even though it's really nothing like yucca.

A top-view macro shot of the hesperaloe, which you can find crammed into medians, yards, and commercial plantings around Tucson.

The hesperaloe's small and waxy buds open to reveal lucious yellow flowers, making it among the most popular of Tucson's landscaping plants.

Though wild populations of Parry's penstemon haven't flourished this year, the plants that did bloom seemed to hold their flowers longer, owing I suppose to our coolish spring.

A not-so-native species, a rose, though when my younger daughter suggested I take the photo, how could I refuse?

I'm not sure what these little beauties are---they're in the yard of neighbors who didn't plant them, so they don't know, either. Some sort of monkey flower, perhaps?

Here's a lighter flower of the desert willow.

The pad of a Santa Rita prickly pear. New growth is violet to dark purple, and the entire cactus will turn from this purplish-green to deep purple the drier it gets.

The chollas---in this case a cane cholla, sometimes called Christmas cholla because of the flowers---have really been blooming lately. And oh, the colors this year!

Sometimes the buds are deceptive, as even yellow-budded chollas can bloom in violet, scarlet, and orange. This one isn't hiding anything, though.

Backlit in the afternoon sun, you might from a distance be tempted to pick such a lovely flower. It would, of course, be the last time you tried it.

Tomorrow I'll share some blue wildflowers, then we'll follow the spectrum through green, yellow, orange, red, and purple.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Lovely, lovely.