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Sonoran desert 2018

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Plants of the Sonoran Desert (Colorado Desert) and their uses in S. California Gardens.

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Sonoran desert 2018

  1. 1. © Project SOUND Out of the Wilds and Into Your Garden Gardening with California Native Plants in Western L.A. County Project SOUND – 2018 (our 14th year)
  2. 2. © Project SOUND Plants of the Sonoran Desert: their use in local gardens C.M. Vadheim, K. Dawdy (and T. Drake) CSUDH (emeritus), CSUDH & City of Torrance Madrona Marsh Preserve February 3 & 6, 2018
  3. 3. 2018 Season – Gardens that sooth © Project SOUND Gardens that heal
  4. 4. So why are we talking about the Sonoran Desert? © Project SOUND
  5. 5. Like it or not, our climate’s changing… © Project SOUND … and we need to learn how to cope without over-stressing
  6. 6. The Sonoran Desert is one of three California deserts © Project SOUND  Great Basin Desert – ‘cold desert’ ‘shrub steppe’ [Owens Valley]  Mojave Desert – ‘high desert’ [Joshua Tree; I15 to Las Vegas]  Sonoran (Colorado) Desert – ‘low desert’ [Anza-Borrego] http://www.mbgnet.net/sets/desert/ofworld.htm
  7. 7. The three deserts share some characteristics – because they are hot, dry deserts © Project SOUND Hot summers Dry Sparse vegetation https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojave_Desert
  8. 8. What are deserts? It’s all about water.  Many types of definitions.  Precipitation: ‘Receive less than 10 inches (250 mm) of average annual precipitation’ (semi-deserts receive 10- 20 in. year).  Aridity - high rates of water loss from the ground (evaporation) and through plants (transpiration); may actually exceed precipitation  "A biological community in which most of the indigenous plants and animals are adapted to chronic aridity and periodic, extreme droughts, and in which these conditions are necessary to maintain the community's structure.’ © Project SOUND https://www.pinterest.com/pin/476044623083723828/?lp=tr ue
  9. 9. What are deserts? Aridity produces many other climatic features of deserts.  Uneven and unpredictable nature of the little precipitation that occurs  Wide temperature range (both high and low) due low humidity  Windy – due temperature extremes  Intense sunlight due low humidity © Project SOUND https://www.pinterest.com/pin/476044623083723828/?lp=tr ue
  10. 10. How many types of deserts are there?  There are almost as many definitions of deserts and classification systems as there are deserts in the world.  Deserts are often classified by:  Temperature: hot vs. cold  Amount of precipitation: dry vs. semi-arid  Etiology (cause):  Coastal deserts  Mid-latitude deserts  Rain-shadow deserts © Project SOUND Hot deserts https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_climate It turns out our California deserts can be explained by several etiologies
  11. 11. Precipitation and the atmosphere are closely linked: on both macro & micro- levels  Atmospheric thermodynamics is extremely complicated, but the basic rules are simple.  First, hot air rises and cool air sinks.  Second, rising air expands and cools, while sinking air compresses and becomes warmer.  Third, warmer air can hold more water vapor than cooler air. © Project SOUND http://dougrobbins.blogspot.com/2014/05/hadley-cells-global-distribution-of.html  These three natural phenomena, plus the sun's heat, determine where rain falls on the planet.
  12. 12. Why most warm dry lands are at mid-latitudes  The tropical atmospheric convection cell is known as the Hadley cell (Hadley circulation).  Warm air rises near the equator, spreads laterally, becomes cool and falls at around 30 degrees latitude, north and south.  As the warm air rises at the equator, it cools, dropping its moisture as rain. Tropical rainforests are the result, circling the globe near the equator.  The air moves north and south to about 30 degrees of latitude and falls. As the high- altitude cool air becomes warmer in the lower atmosphere, its relative humidity falls. The descending air-mass is dry, and deserts circle the globe between 25 degrees and 30 degrees of latitude. © Project SOUND http://dougrobbins.blogspot.com/2014/05/hadley-cells- global-distribution-of.html
  13. 13. Why do deserts occur? Location, location, location  Mid-latitude deserts: are also far enough from the coast that even less moisture remains [example: Sonoran Desert; Great Basin Desert]  Rain-shadow deserts: blocked from coast by mountain range; moisture dropped on the ocean side of the mountains [Mojave Desert] © Project SOUND http://chanelo.co/sonoran-desert-on-us-map/sonoran-desert-wryheat
  14. 14. California’s deserts are due to a unique combination of factors  Latitude (in the ‘dry’ part of the Hadley Cell)  Location on West Coast is influenced by ocean temperature patterns California Current  Distance from the wetter coast  Mountain ranges (Sierra Nevada, Transverse and Coastal Ranges) create a rain shadow to their east © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_California
  15. 15. Not surprising that our three deserts are also different in significant ways © Project SOUND Sonoran Desert http://geography5ecosystem.blogspot.com/ Great Basin Desert http://archive.bio.ed.ac.uk/jdeacon/desbiome/basin.htm Mojave Desert https://www.beautifulworld.com/north-america/united- states/mojave-desert/
  16. 16. Comparing our three CA deserts Temperature Ave. Rainfall Elevation Vegetation Great Basin [north] Cold winter/ warm summer Varies with elevation; some 10-20 inches Highest: to 11,000 feet Cold-temperature limited; Sagebrush Mojave [central] Cool winter/ hot summer 3 to 10 inches Mostly winter Mid-range; includes dry mountains > 7000 ft. Cold/hot temperature and winter precipitation limited; Joshua trees and scrublands California Sonoran (Colorado) [south] Mild winter/ hottest summer 2 to 6 inches Winter & Summer Lowest: < 1000 ft.; peaks < 3000 ft Precipitation limited; legume trees, more varied plant communties © Project SOUND
  17. 17. The Sonoran Desert (as a whole) © Project SOUND  Approximately 100,000 square miles – mostly in AZ, Baja, Sonora Mexico  One of the wettest of the world’s deserts: annual precipitation averages from 76 to 500 mm (3–20 in)  Substantial inter- and intra-annual variability in timing and quantity of precipitation.  Precipitation is typically much higher with elevation, (the sky islands), with a sizable proportion occurring as snowfall.  Most areas experience both gentle winter & more dramatic summer precipitation https://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php
  18. 18. Why summer monsoons: Sonoran Desert?  The Sonoran is hot: summer air temperatures routinely exceed 40°C (104°F), often reach 48°C (118°F).  High near-surface temperatures cause an area of surface low pressure. This sucks in moisture- laden air from the Gulf of Mexico  The hot air interacts with cool, moist air in the atmosphere to produce the violent thunderstorms of the summer monsoons.  As moisture on the soil surface and near-surface air evaporate following a storm, temperatures may drop 10°C (50°F) or more, often within a matter of minutes. © Project SOUND https://tjsgardendotcom1.wordpress.com/tag/weather-in-the-sonoran-desert/
  19. 19. Summer moisture defines the Sonoran Desert  Makes it more tropical (at least further South)  Makes the flora more complex; trees to annuals, many unique endemics  Increases plant biodiversity: > 2000 plant species (high for a desert). Most biodiverse N. American desert © Project SOUND  Many of the perennial plants and animals are derived from ancestors in the tropical thornscrub to the south, their life cycles attuned to the brief summer rainy season. http://geography5ecosystem.blogspot.com/2012/11/historical-state-of-sonoran-desert.html Legume trees Columnar cacti
  20. 20. Many other species depend on the winter rains © Project SOUND https://coastsideslacking.com/2017/03/30/super-bloom-part-1-anza-borrego-wildflowers-defy-expectations-but-we-are- impressed-anyway/
  21. 21. Annuals make up half the Sonoran Desert plant species: most are winter rain-dependent © Project SOUND http://blog.sandiego.org/2013/03/wildflowers-east-county/
  22. 22. California’s part of the Sonoran Desert is small… © Project SOUND …and, as it turn out, not that typical
  23. 23. California’s part of the Sonoran Desert is called the ‘Colorado Desert’  ~ 7 million acres (2,800,000 ha).  Imperial County, parts of San Diego County, Riverside County, and a small part of San Bernardino County.  Coachella Valley area: Palm Springs Palm Desert Indio Indian Wells Rancho Mirage Cathedral City Borrego Springs  Imperial Valley area El Centro Calexico Brawley © Project SOUND http://mojavedesert.net/plants/vegetation/01.html Lower Colorado River Valley area Blythe Palo Verde Winterhaven
  24. 24. The Lower Colorado River Valley sub- division of the Sonoran Desert: hot & dry  Largest, hottest, and driest subdivision of the Sonoran Desert (challenges the Mohave Desert's Death Valley as the hottest and driest place in North America).  Summer highs may exceed 120°F (49°C), with surface temperatures approaching 180°F (82°C).  Annual rainfall in the driest sites averages less than three inches (76 mm), and some localities have gone thirty-six months with no rain. Even so, life exists here, abundantly in the rare wet years. © Project SOUND https://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_biomes_.php
  25. 25. The Colorado Desert has interesting topography & geology  Most lies at a relatively low elevation, below 1,000 feet (300 m) (lowest point at the Salton Sea).  Although the highest peaks of the Peninsular Ranges reach elevations of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m), most of the region's mountains do not exceed 3,000 feet (910 m).  Geology is dominated by the transition of the tectonic plate boundary from rift to fault. The southernmost strands of the San Andreas Fault connect to the northernmost extensions of the East Pacific Rise. © Project SOUND  The region is subject to earthquakes, and the crust is being stretched, which will result in a sinking of the terrain over time.
  26. 26. Landforms of the Colorado Desert  Reflect ancient history of volcanos and ancient seas  Volcanic rocks exposed in some places (mountain ranges)  Sedimentary rocks from ancient shallow sea beds  Soils and landforms shaped by:  Water erosion  Wind erosion  Temperature extremes © Project SOUND https://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_geologic_origin.php
  27. 27. Mountains ring the central lowlands  The terrain consists mostly of broad, flat valleys with widely- scattered, small mountain ranges of almost barren rock.  Mountain ranges:  Around the east side of Joshua Tree NP in the north (the Orocopia Mountains, the Chuckwalla Mountains, the Coxcomb Mountains)  In Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  The Colorado River ranges (Chemehuevis, Whipples, Big Marias). © Project SOUND https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wpdms_shdrlfi020l _little_san_bernardino_mountains.jpg
  28. 28. The Colorado Desert flora is determined by its dry conditions  Home to many unique flora and fauna. But overall plant biodiversity lower than in other parts of the Sonoran Desert  Valleys are dominated by low shrubs.  Trees grow only along the larger washes and at higher elevations.  Mountains support a wider variety of shrubs and cacti, but density is still very sparse.  Columnar cacti, one of the indicators of the Sonoran Desert, are virtually absent in California  Annual species comprise over half the flora, and up to 90% at the driest sites © Project SOUND http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/anza_borreg o_desert/yellow-agave_l.html
  29. 29. Might not seem to be a good place to look for candidates for Western L.A. County Gardens © Project SOUND
  30. 30. In fact, the Colorado Desert’s diversity means that some plants are good candidates © Project SOUND
  31. 31. But we need to understand their needs and then choose wisely © Project SOUND
  32. 32. Plant communities important for Los Angeles Co. gardens  Which desert plants are appropriate?  What will the future hold? © Project SOUND http://www.ethnoherbalist.com/southern-california-native-plants-medicinal/
  33. 33. © Project SOUND * Indian Mallow – Abutilon palmeri
  34. 34. © Project SOUND * Indian Mallow – Abutilon palmeri  Low desert of S. California (Colorado Desert) and on the eastern slopes of the peninsular range & San Jacinto Mtns  Dry east-facing mountain slopes, washes, creosote bush scrub, elevation: 1800-2400' http://cabezaprieta.org/plant_page.php?id=1054 http://www.slingshotforums.com/threads/saturday-june-4th-san-diego-laguna- mountain-classic.12849/
  35. 35. © Project SOUND Indian Mallow adds interest to many gardens  As a specimen shrub – color, texture  In a habitat garden  Along a hot wall; with other water- wise native like Salvias, Penstemons, Eriorgonums, Ceanothus  Anywhere you need a nice shrub – very shapeable https://queenofthedirt.blog/2017/04/04/tpfnpgt-saturday-part-deux/ http://www.plantmaster.com/gardens/eplant.php?plantnum=24577
  36. 36. Why does Abutilon palmeri do so well in local gardens? Why a good fit? © Project SOUND
  37. 37. Desert vs Mediterranean Climate Desert - Extremes  Precipitation: < 10 inches  Aridity: high almost all year  Precipitation pattern:  Highly unpredictable year-to- year;  May fall in either winter or summer  Temperatures: extreme highs and lows  Windy most of year  Intense sunlight Mediterranean Climate - moderation  Precipitation: > 10 inches  Aridity: high only in late summer/fall  Precipitation pattern:  Somewhat unpredictable  Falls as rain in winter  Temperatures: moderated by proximity to ocean  Seasonal winds  Less intense sunlight; clouds and humidity moderate © Project SOUND
  38. 38. Desert plants that might succeed  Better if had some tolerance of yearly precipitation extremes – particularly on the ‘wet’ side  Better choices might be able to take some summer water (because they might look better than those that can’t) © Project SOUND https://www.houzz.com/photo/53631956-abutilon-palmeri-palmers-indian-mallow- landscape-los-angeles Sonoran Desert plants meet at least one of these criteria
  39. 39. The Sonoran Desert looks more complex than the Mojave Desert © Project SOUNDhttps://cactiguide.com/article/?article=article5.php http://granite.ucnrs.net/?page_id=869
  40. 40. © Project SOUND
  41. 41. The Colorado Desert has a range of biozones, most strongly defined by elevation and drainage © Project SOUND https://www.nps.gov/im/sodn/ecosystems.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower_Colorado_River_Valley Plants from some Colorado Desert communities are better suited than those from others
  42. 42. Plant Communities: Colorado Desert  Pinyon-Juniper Woodland  Mixed Scrub  Creosote Bush Scrub  Saltbush Scrub  Alkali Sink  Psamnophytic Scrub  Microphyll Woodland  Palm (Desert Woodland) Oasis © Project SOUND https://www.nps.gov/im/sodn/ecosystems.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lower _Colorado_River_Valley
  43. 43. Let’s take a road trip to explore the most important communities © Project SOUNDhttp://gotbooks.miracosta.edu/geology/regions/colorado_desert.html
  44. 44. A good start is © Project SOUND classic Mojave Desert http://www.hiking-in-ps.com/joshua-tree-national-park/ http://www- personal.umich.edu/~alanford/nancyford/photoalbums/califor niamarch2002/page4.htm Colorado Desert
  45. 45. Joshua Tree National Park is a good place to compare/contrast deserts © Project SOUND http://mojavedesert.net/plants/vegetation/01.html
  46. 46. Pinyon-Juniper woodland  Desert side of the mountains, generally the eastern slopes of north-south trending ranges and the northern slopes of east-west trending ranges  Elevations from about 5000' to 8000'-9000', extending from the Tehachapi Mountains southward and including the higher mountains of the Colorado Desert.  1070 to 1680 m (3500 to 5500 ft) in the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains © Project SOUND http://mojavedesert.net/habitat/pjn.html http://www.highonadventure.com/hoa17nov/lee/joshua-tree.htm
  47. 47. Pinyon-Juniper Woodland is a pleasant surprise  Found in ‘Sky Islands’ throughout the Southwest  Remnants of woodlands that were far more extensive in wetter past  We’ll come back to the Pinyon- Juniper Woodland next month © Project SOUND https://www.cheersnature.com/exploring-santa-rosa-and-san-jacinto-mountains- national-monument-southern-ca/ Joshua Tree National Monument • Hidden Valley Nature Walk Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument
  48. 48. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument © Project SOUNDhttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Santa_Rosa_and_San_Jacinto_Mountains_283.jpg
  49. 49. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument © Project SOUND https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/09/47/16/e0/san-jacinto-national.jpg https://it.pinterest.com/pin/57420963980602482/ • Jointly managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service • The Monument includes two Federal wilderness areas -- the Santa Rosa and the San Jacinto.
  50. 50. Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument  Established by an Act of Congress on October 24, 2000, "in order to preserve the nationally significant biological, cultural, recreational, geological, educational, and scientific values found in the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains" © Project SOUND
  51. 51. The Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument is an ecological gem  Large elevation range: sea level to nearly 11,000 feet (3,400 m).  San Jacinto Peak is the highest point in the Peninsular Range Province and has one of the steepest fault-block escarpments in North America  The differences in elevation, temperature, and moisture give rise to diverse vegetation  Pine Forest  Woodlands  Riparian  Desert Oasis Woodland  Chaparral  Desert Scrub © Project SOUND https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation- lands/california/santa-rosa-and-san-jacinto-mountains-national- monument
  52. 52. We’ll visit the Palm Oases next month: they contain plants useful in gardens © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washingtonia_filifera
  53. 53. Mixed desert scrub plant community  Plant community of rocky desert slopes between 500-5000 ft elevation.  Both Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.  Varies floristically with latitude, rainfall, and substrata.  Although it intergrades below with creosote bush scrub, cactus scrub, desert wash scrub, or microphyll woodland and above with blackbush scrub and pinyonjuniper woodland it is distinct from these.  There are no obvious dominants,  Little studied – needs work. © Project SOUND https://califlorana.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/the-untapped- potential-of-deserts-my-field-botany-trip-to-the-mojave-and-colorado- deserts/ http://range.altervista.org/Shrublands/sonorandesert.html
  54. 54. Mixed desert scrub: complex mixture  Impressive mixture of species displaying most of the various desert growth habits:  Stem-succulent cacti  Leaf semisucculents like Agave and Yucca spp.  Leaf-succulents of the genus Dudleya, the ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens  Many shrubby desert species  Perennial herbs  Perennial grasses  Ferns  Many annuals, especially of the genera Eriogonum, Gilia, and Phacelia. © Project SOUND https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/beauty/Sky_Islands/communities/desertscrub.shtml  More developed in AZ, NM but also found in Colorado Desert  Examples: Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument; Anza-Borrego
  55. 55. © Project SOUND *Emory’s rock daisy – Perityle emoryi ©2013 Debra L. Cook
  56. 56. © Project SOUND *Emory’s rock daisy – Perityle emoryi http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=4303 http://www.smmflowers.org/bloom/species/Perityle_emoryi.htm http://www.birdandhike.com/Veg/Species/Forbs-A/Perity_emo/_Per_emo.htm  Coastal bluffs, desert plains, slopes, washes; 10- 1500 m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah; Mexico; South America (Chile, Peru).  Widespread polyploid of diverse habitats. The range of appears to be gradually expanding.  Collected by just about everyone: Leroy Abrams, Brandegees, Parish
  57. 57. © Project SOUND Cute little rock daisy : garden sized  Size:  1-2 ft tall  1-2 ft wide  Growth form:  Annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial  Highly variable characteristics; may be simple or many-branched  May be hairy or not  Foliage:  Small round or triangular leaves; toothed or lobed  Color: medium green Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences.
  58. 58. © Project SOUND Daisy-like flowers  Blooms: mostly after spring/summer rain but may be almost all year  Flowers:  Petite daisy heads; ½ to 1 inch (at most)  Small number of ray flowers are pure white  Disk flowers yellow  Good pollinator flowers  Seeds:  Typical sunflower – easy to start from seed  Gather dry seed and save – or let plants re-seed ©2012 Neal Kramer
  59. 59. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: well-drained sandy soil best; likely accepts other  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun to part-shade; OK with dappled shade or afternoon shade  Water:  Winter: need good winter water; supplement if needed  Summer: 1-2 times/mo. in ground (more often in pots) – Water Zone 1-2 to 2  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: gravel or no mulch to insure re-seeding ©2015 Wynn Anderson
  60. 60. © Project SOUND Rock daisy in Garden  Perfect plant for an accent container – takes a little water  Nice in rock garden, drystone wall, desert garden – takes heat  Dry edges of vegetable garden  Under trees; as a filler (will naturalize) ©2013 Robert Sikora https://www.naturesfinestseed.com/desert-daisy http://www.smmflowers.org/bloom/species/Perityle_emoryi.htm
  61. 61. Characteristics of CA Deserts important for gardeners  Yearly precipitation: generally low, but varies with elevation  Precipitation distribution: winter, summer or both  Temperature extremes  Humidity  Soil texture: generally sandy, rocky, well-drained  Soil pH: generally neutral to alkali  Soil fertility/organic content: generally low  Water table/soil moisture: generally dry but depends on drainage  Organic mulch: generally none to very little © Project SOUND
  62. 62. Getting around the difference in temperature extremes between desert & coast  Plants from intermediate elevations don’t experience as extreme highs  Use plants that tolerate a little shade – likely will appreciate cooler temperatures as well  Climate change may be making the coast more like the inland anyway. © Project SOUND©2015 Wynn Anderson
  63. 63. Why more diversity/large shrubs in mixed scrubland community?  More water overall (higher elevation or other)  Concentrated in places that naturally conserve water:  North-facing slopes  Canyons  Rocky places  Bottoms of slopes © Project SOUND https://guideofus.com/california/joshua-tree-national-park
  64. 64. © Project SOUND *Woolly bluestar – Amsonia tomentosa ©2004 Brent Miller
  65. 65. © Project SOUND *Woolly bluestar – Amsonia tomentosa ©2000 Carol Bruce ©2000 Carol Bruce  CA, s. NV, UT, AZ, NM, w. TX and northern Mexico (Chihuahua); Mojave & Colorado (Sonoran) Deserts  Dry slopes, washes and flats, 2000'-5500', often sandy or gravelly, in Creosote Bush Scrub, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland & Joshua Tree Woodland communities  Collected by S. B. Parish http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_cpn.pl?AMTO2
  66. 66. © Project SOUND Wooly bluestar: herbaceous perennial  Size:  1-2 ft tall  2-5 ft wide  Growth form:  Herbaceous or delicate sub-shrub  Slender stems from woody stalk; adds new stems each year  Some plants are white-wooly  Foliage:  Green or more gray-green  Leaves simple, lance-shaped with pointed tip  Looks very much like a garden plant ©2004 Brent Miller
  67. 67. © Project SOUND Flowers like small Stephanotis  Blooms: after winter-spring rains – usually March-May  Flowers:  Clusters of flowers, mostly at ends of stalks  Flowers tubular with open petals  Flowers usually white with yellow; may be pastel purple or pink  Very attractive; nice cut flower  Seeds: in a pod ©2006 Steve Matson http://www.americansouthwest.net/plants/wildflowers/amsonia-tomentosa.html
  68. 68. What’s the deal with pods & deserts?  Benefits in dry climate:  Allows seeds more time to grow before drying out  Larger seed has longer ‘shelf- life’ – can wait until conditions are right to germinate  Pod provides some protection against predators © Project SOUND http://www.birdandhike.com/Veg/Species/Forbs-P/Amsoni_tom/_Ams_tom.htm http://www.hazmac.biz/051212/051212AmsoniaTomentosa03.html
  69. 69. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: sandy or rocky best; well-drained  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun to part-shade  Water:  Winter: needs good winter/spring rains; supplement if needed  Summer: occasional water ok – Water Zone 1-2 to 2  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils. In containers, dose of ½ strength as stems start to grow.  Other: prune back old stems as needed ©2004 Brent Miller
  70. 70. © Project SOUND Adds interest to garden  Well suited for a pot plant; even on part-shady porch  In desert themed garden or mixed water-wise bed  Contrast for evergreen shrubs  Interesting in rock garden or with bulbs, annuals ©2010 Neal Kramer https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/75427-Amsonia-tomentosa
  71. 71. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park © Project SOUND http://www.theabf.org/wildflowers
  72. 72. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  The largest state park in California (> 600,000 acres).  Eastern side of San Diego County, with portions extending east into Imperial County and north into Riverside County © Project SOUND http://www.travelcaffeine.com/anza-borrego-desert-state-park- wildflower-super-bloom/
  73. 73. Be sure to visit the Desert Garden at the Visitor Center  Great example of desert-type garden  May inspire you to look ‘outside the box’ in terms of garden design © Project SOUND https://russbishop.photoshelter.com/image/I0000G2xxf8QCQcg
  74. 74. Complex topography/geology of Anza- Borrego  Framed by, and includes many rugged mountain ranges:  The Bucksnorts and the Santa Rosas on the north, the Jacumba Mountains on the south and the Vallecito and Pinyon Mountains on the west.  To the east, the Borrego Mountains taper into the Carrizo Badlands before falling away into the Salton Trough. © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert_State_Park  The park contains bajadas and desert washes; rock formations and colorful badlands, large arid landscapes, and mountains
  75. 75. Mixed Desert Scrub is common at Anza- Borrego © Project SOUND https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/beauty/Sky_Islands/commu nities/desertscrub.shtml https://www.travel-experience-live.com/anza-borrego-desert-wildflowers-superbloom- photos/ Some of the plants are perfectly suited for home gardens
  76. 76. CA Encelia is pretty drought tolerant © Project SOUND
  77. 77. © Project SOUND *Acton brittlebush – Encelia actoni Robb Hannawacker
  78. 78.  Native to CA, NV and Baja California Locally N. slopes of San Gabriels  Mountains of Mojave, Sonoran & Great Basin Deserts; rocky slopes in desert, chaparral, and grassland communities from 2,500 to 6,000 feet elevation.  Sometimes AKA Encelia actonii; collected July 1, 1885 M.K. Curren [Brandegee] © Project SOUND *Acton brittlebush – Encelia actoni ©1999 Larry Blakely ©2007 Steve Matson https://www.cpp.edu/~jcclark/encelia/act-m.html
  79. 79. © Project SOUND Brittle Bush – Encelia farinosa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encelia_farinosa
  80. 80. © Project SOUND Brittle Bush – Encelia farinosa  Interior valleys of S. CA, AZ and s. into Mexico; Sonoran and Mojave deserts  Dry, rocky slopes (bajadas); brushy areas; flats and desert washes ; can dominate S- facing Sonoran Desert slopes  Many communities: open oak woodlands, semi- desert and desert grasslands, desert scrub, and coastal sage scrub http://www.graniteseed.com/seeds/seed.php/Encelia_farinosa http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/261--encelia-farinosa Anza-Borrego http://www.natureathand.com/Main/Gallery/Encelia_farinosa_57712.htm
  81. 81. © Project SOUND Brittle Bush: a mounded desert sub-shrub  Size:  3-5 ft tall  3-5 ft wide  Growth form:  Mounded sub-shrub with woody, succulent base  Evergreen or drought-deciduous  Fast growth; relatively short lived (5-10 years)  Foliage:  Young spring leaves are greenish  Summer set of leaves wooly & very white –dramatic looking  Allelopathy – prevents competition  Roots: taproot with many shallow laterals; resents being moved
  82. 82. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: should be well-drained; sandy/gravelly best  pH: any local, including alkali (7.0- 9.00)  Light: full sun, including reflected heat.  Water:  Winter: may ‘drown’ in poorly drained soils in wet years  Summer: very drought tolerant (Zone 1); perhaps best Zone 1-2 (very occasional water  Too much water causes fast, brittle growth  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soil  Cut back in fall/winter to promote new growth
  83. 83. © Project SOUND Sunflower heads above the foliage  Blooms:  Primarily in spring (Mar-May)  May bloom sporadically at other times in response to rain  Flowers:  Typical yellow & brown sunflower heads  Heads held on slender stalks above the foliage – quite unique and showy  Sweet-scented  Attracts insect pollinators  Seeds:  Typical for Sunflowers; birds love them  May be many seedlings in response to heavy winter rains
  84. 84. © Project SOUND Desert gardeners love Brittle Bush  Popular in desert landscaping  Good choice for mixed dry borders and rock gardens  Does well on dry slopes  Good choice for habitat gardens  Good for ‘Evening Garden’  Don’t plant: choose CA Encelia instead  Near coast  Any area near natural populations of CA Encelia  Common name ‘Incienso’ refers to scented stem resin which is dried and used for incense. http://www.plantmaster.com/gardens/eplant.php?plantnum=1391
  85. 85. Plant families common in the Sonoran (Colorado) Desert  Asteraceae – Sunflower family  Cactaceae – Cactus family  Fabaceae – Pea family  Malvaceae – Mallow family  Rosaceae – Rose family © Project SOUND https://www.yelp.com/biz/anza-borrego-desert-state-park-borrego- springs-3
  86. 86. How do plants in the Sunflower family survive in the Sonoran Desert?  Grow in places with a little extra water  Along waterways/drainage  Higher elevations  Summer dormancy  Drought-deciduous leaves – or two set of leaves © Project SOUND
  87. 87. © Project SOUND Conserving water: 2 sets of leaves  Plants react to seasonal increase in water stress at the end of the rainy season by replacing the larger, less hairy leaves produced earlier in the growing season with hairy leaves that are smaller and thicker.  This reduces water loss and regulates leaf temperature, but it also decreases photosynthetic capacity.  Prolonged drought leads to dormancy and leaf drop.
  88. 88. Plants of the bajadas & washes… © Project SOUND https://borregohiking.com/hiking/coyote_mountain_loop.html … can be good candidates for the S. CA garden
  89. 89. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a good place to observe bajada plants  The bajadas are predominantly creosote bush-bur sage with creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and the palo verde- cactus shrub ecosystems with the palo verde tree (Parkinsonia microphylla), cacti, and ocotillo.  They often also include other shrubs and annual wildflowers © Project SOUND http://calebgolston.blogspot.com/2013/11/anza-borrego-desert-state-park.html
  90. 90. © Project SOUND *Paper flower – Psilostrophe coorpei ©2016 Richard Spellenberg
  91. 91. © Project SOUND *Paper flower – Psilostrophe cooperi http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=4503 ©2010 Jean Pawek ©2010 Neal Kramer  Southwest United States (California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico) and northern Mexico. In CA: Mojave & Colorado (Sonoran) Deserts  In washes and gravely hillsides, at 2,000 to 5,000 feet in elevation  Leroy Abrams, the Brandegees, S.B. Parish and others all collected it
  92. 92. © Project SOUND Paper flower: sunflower desert sub-shrub  Size:  1-2 ft tall  1-2 ft wide  Growth form:  Mounded sub-shrub; nice natural form & fast-growing  Many slender branches  Drought-deciduous or nearly evergreen w/ water  Foliage:  Pale green, hairy foliage  Thin almost linear grayish leaves to 2 inches long  Young plants somewhat toxic to browsing livestock ©2012 Jean Pawek
  93. 93. © Project SOUND Flowers keep on giving…  Blooms: after rains – mainly spring but also summer (Mar-Jul; Aug-Oct)  Flowers:  Pretty yellow sunflower heads; like yellow Coreopsis  Relatively few, broad ray flowers with notched tips; dry and become pale, but stay on plant – ‘paper flowers’  Yellow disk flowers  Excellent habitat for pollinators and birds  Seeds: sunflower-type; easy to grow from seed ©2010 Neal Kramer ©2008 Steve Matson
  94. 94. © Project SOUND Easy plant for our area  Soils:  Texture: most well-drained – tolerant, but needs drainage  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun to very light shade; this is a sun-lover that can take heat  Water:  Winter: adequate (6-8 inches); supplement as needed  Summer: once or twice a month from June-Aug (Water Zone 1-2 to 2 for best appearance  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils. containers need ½ strength in late winter  Other: lightly head back in fall ©2010 Jean Pawek
  95. 95. © Project SOUND Easy to love shrub  Massed or as accent plant  In habitat garden  Fronts of beds; lining walkways  As an attractive pot plant  Even around the vegetable garden ©2011 Neal Kramer ©2003 Michael Charters http://gardenoracle.com/images/psilostrophe-cooperi.html
  96. 96. How do plants in the Sunflower family survive in the Sonoran Desert?  Grow in places with a little extra water  Along waterways  Higher elevations  Summer dormancy  Drought-deciduous leaves  Annual life-style; get everything over with before the summer drought  Produce lots of seed; take full advantage of ‘good years’ © Project SOUND
  97. 97. What are those desert shrubs? © Project SOUND ©2012 Jean Pawek
  98. 98. Throughout much if the Mojave and Colorado Deserts, Creosote bush is king © Project SOUND http://map-state.bid/map-of-colorado-desert-in-california.html
  99. 99. Creosote bush scrub  Common: ~ 70 of area of Mojave/Colorado Deserts  Lower slopes to about 3500‘  Well-drained soils  Very high summer temperatures and winter temperatures rarely approaching freezing  Some rainfall in the form of summer showers; many shrubs and annual species bloom either in the summer or in the fall © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert_State_Park http://geogypsytraveler.com/category/places-ive-been/united- states/california/anza-borrego-california/page/2/
  100. 100. Creosote bush scrub  Low species diversity  Characteristic species: Larrea tridentata (Creosote bush) and Ambrosia dumosa (Burrobush)  While dominated by woody shrubs, both herbaceous annuals and perennials are well represented  Well-spaced shrubs [due combination of factors: moisture; root characteristics; vegetative reproduction; phytotoxins]  Shrub size dependent on available moisture © Project SOUND http://www.marriedtoplants.com/hodgepodge/visit-anza-borrego-desert-see-wildflower- super-bloom/ http://home.sandiego.edu/~pkemp/Bio112-Desert.html
  101. 101. Creosote-bursage flats: CA/NV  A vast expanse of seemingly uniform- height shrubs on desert flats.  Low: below 4,000 feet  Gentle slopes, bajadas  annual precipitation is 6 inches or less and unreliable  Temperature extremes: > 110ºF during summer, 25ºF during winter. © Project SOUND http://www.birdandhike.com/Veg/HabType/Creo-Bur/_Creo-Bur.htm
  102. 102. © Project SOUND *Creosote bush – Larrea tridentata ©2005 Steve Matson
  103. 103. © Project SOUND *Creosote bush – Larrea tridentata http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=30255 Charles Webber © California Academy of Sciences ©1995 Saint Mary's College of California  Throughout the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan deserts - the most characteristic species of the hot deserts of North America.  Commonly grows on bajadas, gentle slopes, valley floors, sand dunes, and in arroyos to 5,000 feet  Occurs on calcareous, sandy, and alluvial soils that are often underlain by a caliche hardpan
  104. 104. © Project SOUND Creosotebush reflects its surroundings  Size:  3-8+ ft tall (size depends on available water)  3-8 ft wide  Growth form:  Evergreen woody shrub; slow to moderate growth rate  Many slender, irregular branches  Form: irregularly mounded  Foliage:  Leaves simple, small, sticky leaves  Foliage very aromatic when wet – the ‘smell of a desert storm’  Allelopathy?  Roots: shallow taproot and laterals ©1992 Gary A. Monroe ©2008 Thomas Stoughton
  105. 105. Creostebush adaptations to harsh desert conditions: many  Size/growth:  Take advantage of cool, moist years for growth, germination  Can be near-dormant  Foliage:  Small leaves  Thick, with waxy, protective coating  Can dry down significantly  Root:  Taproot can go as far as possible  Laterals; take advantage of any rain  Plant spacing: root and leaf-derived allopathy & germination inhibition © Project SOUND Not the first choice for insect & other herbivores
  106. 106. © Project SOUND Flowers attract pollinators  Blooms: after rains – Mar-Apr and then again Aug-Sep with summer monsoons/irrigation.  Flowers:  Small (1/4-1/2 in) – but many; plants appear yellow in good bloom season  Bright yellow petals and prominent stamen/pistils  Excellent pollinator plant  Seeds: in fuzzy capsule; important food source for desert birds and animals  Vegetative reproduction: important for longevity ©2002 Charles E. Jones ©2005 Steve Matson
  107. 107. © Project SOUND One tough shrub!!!  Soils:  Texture: well-drained; if not, berm  pH: any local  Can tolerate soils with hardpan  Light: full sun; tolerates heat  Water:  Winter: adequate (6-8 inches)  Summer: extremely drought tolerant; looks better with occasional summer water (once a month; Water Zone 1-2 probably optimal) – active even in drought  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other:  Don’t over-water; needs some stress for good shape  Prune as needed/desired ©2008 Neal Kramer This plant can be kept ‘natural’ or shaped extensively (if desired) – even used as a small ‘tree’
  108. 108. © Project SOUND Adaptable shrub  Foundation or background shrub  ‘Tree’ or pruned hedge/hedgerow  Excellent all-round habitat plant; shelter, food, perches, even nesting  Scented garden; desert garden http://www.public.asu.edu/~camartin/plants/Plant%20html%20files/larreatride ntata.html http://www.plantmaster.com/gardens/reverse.php?plantnum=254
  109. 109. The medicinal side of Creosotebush  Known commonly as ‘chaparral’ (nothing to do with CA Chaparral plant community)  Long history of medicinal use:  Twigs and leaves may be boiled as tea, steamed, pounded into a powder, pressed into a poultice, or heated into an infusion.  Used mostly to cause vomiting and externally to treat wounds, sores, skin ailments or rheumatism  Sometimes touted as a ‘cure-all’  The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about the health hazards of ingesting chaparral or using it as an internal medicine, and discourages its use. In 2005, Health Canada issued a warning to consumers to avoid using the leaves of Larrea species because of the risk of damage to the liver and kidneys. © Project SOUNDhttps://www.amazon.com/Arizona-Natural-Chaparral-Tridentata- Capsules/dp/B0001OP4JC https://thebalmlady.com/listing/248553903/creosote-skin-salve-chaparral-healing
  110. 110. Traveling south, we notice mountains ringing the central lowlands  The terrain consists mostly of broad, flat valleys with widely- scattered, small mountain ranges of almost barren rock.  Mountain ranges:  Around the east side of Joshua Tree NP in the north (the Orocopia Mountains, the Chuckwalla Mountains, the Coxcomb Mountains)  In Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  The Colorado River ranges (Chemehuevis, Whipples, Big Marias). © Project SOUND https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wpdms_shdrlfi020l _little_san_bernardino_mountains.jpg
  111. 111. Orocopia Mountains Wilderness Area  To the east of the Salton Sea  Used area to train astronauts for moon landings there © Project SOUND https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/california-orocopia-mountains-red-canyon-wash- loop-2-2466351/photo-956522
  112. 112. Orocopia Mountains Wilderness Area  Designated 1994; BLM managed  51,289 acres  Despite the harshness of the climate, you can see a wide variety of plants and animals adapted to life in the desert  Some endemic plant species  fossilized remains of prehistoric animals resembling horses, camels, and deer © Project SOUND http://michaeldorausch.com/orocopia-mountains-wilderness-wildflowers/
  113. 113. Chuckwalla Mountains & Valley  Just east of the Oricopa Mountains  Have some interesting reptile species © Project SOUND https://eagleviewlotsandland.com/chuckwalla/
  114. 114. Little Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness  Ocotillo, cholla, yucca, nolina, and barrel cactus cloak the landscape; Ironwood line the washes.  The occurrence of Munz cholla (the largest known cholla), found only here and in the Chocolate Mountains, is only one of a number of rare plants found in this wilderness area. © Project SOUND http://rvsueandcrew.net/a-boondock-in-the-chuckwalla-mountains-wilderness/ https://www.summitpost.org/black-butte-chuckwalla-mountains/994130
  115. 115. Why visit the Orocopa & Chuckwalla Mountains  Wonderful spring wildflowers in a good year  Interesting (including rare) plants adapted to a very harsh environment  Traces of fossil and Native Californian life © Project SOUND http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/ChuckwallaValley1.html http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/ChuckwallaValley1.html
  116. 116. Desert wildflowers are a sight to behold © Project SOUND
  117. 117. Unfortunately, seeds are not available for many desert annuals  I’ve updated the Plants & Seed Source list to include some Desert resources  List available on Mother Nature’s Backyard blog © Project SOUND https://shop.nativeseeds.org/products/sc009
  118. 118. © Project SOUND *Jones’ blazingstar – Mentzelia jonesii
  119. 119.  Desert Mountains, White and Inyo Mountains, Sierra Nevada East, Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert to AZ, NV  Sandy to rocky washes, fans, or flats, creosote-bush scrub, Joshua-tree or saguaro woodlands to about 5000 ft. © Project SOUND *Jones’ blazingstar – Mentzelia jonesii http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=33248
  120. 120. The Loasa family (Loasaceae)  Family of 15–20 genera and about 200– 260 species  Unusual floral morphology –most quite beautiful  Many have painful stinging hairs  Native to the Americas and Africa; most are tropical  Mentzelia is one of three genera native to CA – some w/ no stinging hairs!  Difficult to classify, even with DNA © Project SOUND
  121. 121. California Mentzelias  32 CA native species  15% are perennials – rest annuals  60% are strictly desert species; mostly to Creosote bush scub  Many of the rest are from higher elevations – a few from local mountains or coastal  Some are very rare and locally endemic  Seeds available for very few © Project SOUND ©2012 Aaron Arthur ©2010 Jasmine J. Watts
  122. 122. © Project SOUND Jones’ blazingstar is a desert annual  Size:  1-2 ft tall  1-2 ft wide  Growth form:  Annual wildflower  Erect, branching form  Slender stems often pink- tinged, hairless  Foliage:  Leaves basal & a few on stems  Deeply lobed, usually hairy  Leaf shape linear to lanceolate
  123. 123. © Project SOUND Satiny yellow flowers  Blooms: after winter rains (Mar-May)  Flowers:  Mostly at tips of sender branches – appear to float  Five bright yellow, satiny petals, often with orange at base  Many slender stamens  Sweet, charming, lovely  Seeds: in S-shaped, dry capsule; easy to collect & save http://www.answers.com/topic/dudleya
  124. 124. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: adaptable; sandy or rocky soils in desert  pH: any local  Light:  Full sun to light shade  Water:  Winter: adequate for growth and development  Summer: taper off water as blooming slows  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils  Other: inorganic (gravel) mulch – or none at all
  125. 125. © Project SOUND Gardening with annual Mentzelias  Accent plant; place where people can enjoy it  Desert gardens – or just about any other garden with flowers  As an attractive pot plant http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/taxa/index.php?taxon=2514 https://alchetron.com/Mentzelia https://www.pinterest.com/pin/719450109193192347/
  126. 126. Desert playas present some unique challenges to Sonoran Desert plants © Project SOUND http://www.rediscoveringthegoldenstate.com/colorado-desert/
  127. 127. Characteristics of CA Deserts playas important for gardeners  Soil texture: heavy clay; slower draining often with hardpan  Soil pH: alkali; often salty  Soil moisture: extremes © Project SOUND
  128. 128. Saltbush/Alkalai (Shadscale) Scrub  Occurs in California throughout the Mojave Desert and parts of the Colorado & Great Basin Deserts  Common in California deserts, but are scattered and usually associated with dry lakes, playas and flood plains of rivers. Playa edge plants.  Predominence of shrubby saltbushes (allscale, desert holly, fourwing saltbush, other saltbushes), shadscale, & limited others  Some too specialized for common garden use: we’ll consider a few later this year. © Project SOUND https://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/108--atriplex-polycarpa
  129. 129. Alkali Sink community  Dry lakebed margins, hummocks, playas perched above current drainages, seeps  Adapted to high alkalinity and salinity  Not an easy or attractive plant community for our area (except for old brackish wetland areas) © Project SOUND
  130. 130. Colorado Desert dunes also create a unique habitat and flora © Project SOUND Not every native plant can succeed in sand! https://www.trover.com/discoveries/wall?d=1CEmg
  131. 131. Some local gardens have sandy soils © Project SOUND So some dune plants might work, if other conditions are met
  132. 132. North Algodones Dunes Wilderness (Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area) © Project SOUND https://www.trover.com/d/1CEmg-north-algodones-dunes-wilderness-area-imperial-county-california
  133. 133. North Algodones Dunes Wilderness (Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area)  Designated 1994  25,895 acres; one of the largest dune complexes in North America.  managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Primary dunes (west): larger, coarse sands, more stationary  Secondary dunes (east): shorter dunes, finer texture, mobile, intersperse with other habitats (basins, flats, arroyos) © Project SOUND http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/enlargeAndDetails?id=3401 http://sand.xboltz.net/algodones.html
  134. 134. The secondary dunes are more interesting from a gardening standpoint  Interspersed with basins or flats, with mesquite, smoke tree, ironwood, paloverde, and desert willows. © Project SOUND
  135. 135. Colorado Desert plant communities you can see at Algodones Dunes  Creosote Bush Scrub  Psammophytic scrub  Microphyll woodland  Open Dunes © Project SOUND Microphyll woodland Open Dunes https://sites.google.com/a/ucdavis.edu/algodones/database/plants Psammophytic scrub
  136. 136. Desert Psammophytic Scrub (Desert Dune Sand Plant)  Plants restricted entirely/largely to active dune areas: Ammobroma sonorae, Astragalus magdalenae peirsonii, Croton wigginsii, Ephedra trifurca, Eriogonum deserticola, Helianthus niveus tephrodes, and Palafoxia arida gigantea (M. E. Jones) Turner & Morris (P. linearis gigantea) on the Algodones Dunes.  Other more widely distributed but characteristic psammophytes include Abronia villosa, Astragalus lentiginosus borreganus, Croton californicus mohavensis, Dicoria canescens, Geraea canescens, Hesperocallis undulata, Oenothera deltoides, Mentzelia longiloba, Peta/onyx thurberi, Rumex hymenosepalus, and Tiquilia Pers. (Coldenia) spp.  In years with good precipitation some dune areas resemble a desert grassland © Project SOUND http://granite.ucnrs.net/?page_id=877
  137. 137. Coping with shifting sands  Annuals and perennials: settle in areas with less movement (arroyos, depressions, areas outside active dunes) [pink sand verbena (Abronia villosa), white dune evening-primrose (Oenothera deltoides) and yellow sunflower (Geraea canescens)]  Deep-rooted shrubs anchor the dunes and create habitat for reptiles and birds [mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) and desert buckwheat (Eriogonum deserticola)]  Larger shrubs grow in basins or flats [mesquite, smoke tree, ironwood, palo verde and desert willow trees] © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algodones_Dunes https://www.desertusa.com/OHV/du_algodones.html
  138. 138. Dune scrub annuals, perennials and bulbs can work well in local gardens © Project SOUND https://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/6--abronia-villosa-villosa Sand verbena (Abrona villosa) thrives in sandy coastal gardens
  139. 139. © Project SOUND *Leafy prickly poppy – Argemone corymbosa © by Curtis Clark
  140. 140.  Desert mountains, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of CA, AZ;  Dry flats and slopes, stabilized dunes, washes, sandy or granitic soil in Creosote Bush Scrub, 1000-4000 ft. elevation.  Katharine Brandegee, © Project SOUND *Leafy prickly poppy – Argemone corymbosa ©2006 J. G. Riend ©2006 J. G. Riend http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233500128
  141. 141. © Project SOUND Prickly poppy: comes well-armed  Size:  1-3 ft tall  1-2 ft wide (adds new stems)  Growth form:  Herbaceous perennial  Upright habit; stout stem is armed  Foliage:  Leaves pale to blue-green  Succulent, lance=shaped to oval and well-armed (particularly beneath)  Margins toothed  Orange sap (don’t ingest) ©2014 Neal Kramer
  142. 142. © Project SOUND Flowers are fantastic  Blooms: in spring - usually April-May  Flowers:  Fairly large: ~ 2-4 inches  Looks like Matilija Poppy  4 overlapping, crinkled white petals  Lots of yellow-orange stamens  Very showy – be the envy of your friends  Seeds:  Spiky seedpod – really unique  Vegetative reproduction: adds new shoots each year ©2014 Neal Kramer ©2010 Michelle Cloud-Hughes
  143. 143. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: any well-drained; less particular than some desert species  pH: any local  Light: full sun  Water:  Winter: at least 6-8 inches  Summer: little to no water once established (Water Zone 1 or 1-2)  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils; inorganic or no mulch  Other: cut back very carefully (wear gloves) after flowering or seed set ©2017 Jean Pawek
  144. 144. © Project SOUND Prickly poppy  In a pollinator garden  As an accent in a desert-themed or rock garden  In a large container  Be sure to plant away from traffic (unless you mean to do so) ©2014 Neal Kramer http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/3446--argemone-corymbosa https://www.flickr.com/photos/128459319@N04/17156276159
  145. 145. Characteristics of CA Desert Dune plants important for gardeners  Soil texture: generally sandy, well-drained  Soil fertility/organic content: generally vary low  Water table/soil moisture: generally dry but depends on drainage © Project SOUND
  146. 146. Thus far we haven’t even talked about cacti © Project SOUND Cholla Cactus Garden – Joshua Tree National Monument
  147. 147. Stem-succulent (Cactus) Scrub  Open, spinescent, succulent- stemmed scrub; small to tree-like  Far better developed in AZ and Baja; can be seen from Pinto and Eagle Mtns. of Joshua Tree National Monument south  On bajadas and other gentle slopes, with fine soil texture and mostly facing south, and in well-watered sandy arroyos  Colorado Desert species are limited: Opuntia bigelovii and other chollas, various species of Echinocereus, Mammillaria, and Coryphantha clearly dominant; other shrubs may be present. © Project SOUND https://modernhiker.com/hike/blue-angels-peak/ Cholla Cactus Garden - Pinto Basin, Joshua Tree
  148. 148. Stem-succulents present drainage challenges in local gardens – particularly in el Niño years © Project SOUND
  149. 149. But they can make glorious accent plants… © Project SOUND
  150. 150. © Project SOUND *Ocatillo – Fouquieria splendens http://tucson.com/lifestyles/things-to-know-about-ocotillos/collection_c8ef74d8-276d- 11e6-b9ba-134c84ea28aa.html#1
  151. 151. © Project SOUND *Ocatillo – Fouquieria splendens ©2004 Heath McAllister ©2008 Gary A. Monroe http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=77256  Sonoran (Colorado) Desert from CA to Texas, central Mexico, Baja California  In CA: Anza-Borrego and south; Chuckwalla and Chocolate Mountains  Dry, generally rocky soils, < 700 m.  Creosote bush scrub
  152. 152. We’ll consider some strategies for using stem-succulent accents in November © Project SOUND https://www.springspreserve.org/explore/botanical-garden.html
  153. 153. Chocolate Mountains © Project SOUND https://southwestphotojournal.com/2012/01/24/little-picacho-wilderness-opens-door-to- california-chocolate-mountains-and-winter-adventure/
  154. 154. Chocolate Mountains: Little Picacho Wilderness; Indian Pass Wilderness  Riverside & Imperial Counties  Form the northeast boundary of the Salton Trough, extending from the Orocopia Mountains to the Colorado River valley  Warm & dry : typically 4-6 in.; mean annual temperature is about 60 °F to 75 °F © Project SOUND https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate_Mountains  Plant communities of note:  Creosote bush–white bursage community  Stem-succulent (Cactus) Scrub  Desert Microphyll Woodland
  155. 155. Desert riparian woodland (Colorado Desert)  Along permanent water sources (mostly rivers); look similar to local riparian woodlands  May include typical riparan tree species (Willows/Cottonwoods; Baccharis; ) as well as other large shrubs and trees.  Often a well-developed understory:  Riparian species: cattails; rushes  Other perennials & grass-like plants  Trees and larger shrubs remain green except in winter (winter deciduous types) or very bad drought © Project SOUND http://tommysbirdingexpeditions.blogspot.com/2014/03/two- location-lifers-in-one-day.html http://onthegrapevine.blogspot.com/2006/11/
  156. 156. Desert Microphyll Woodland  Along seasonal desert waterways, arroyos of the Colorado Desert [Sonoran Desert in general]  Stored runoff water stored under and along the sandy or gravelly beds supports a rich shrubby flora  Larger trees/shrubs may be dormant in dry years – but they’re still access ground water  Warmer round-the-year temperatures and perhaps other factors support an open to sometimes dense woodland of small (to 5 m), microphyllous trees, especially Fabaceae.  Smaller shrubs or perennials also conspicuous along the arroyo margins © Project SOUND http://home.sandiego.edu/~pkemp/Bio112-Desert.html
  157. 157. Desert Microphyll Woodland  Very important animal habitat; supports diverse array of insects, birds, animals  Supports interesting group of plants that cope with extremes of soil moisture  May become an increasingly important source of garden trees and shrubs for L.A. Basin – much more next month © Project SOUND http://www.basinandrangewatch.org/Blythe-Sep.html
  158. 158. © Project SOUND *Desert senna – Senna armata ©1992 Gary A. Monroe
  159. 159.  Desert Mountains, Mojave & Sonoran Deserts of CA, AZ, NV & Baja CA  Common in sandy and gravelly washes and open flats in Creosote bush scrub, Desert microphyll woodland, below 3000'. © Project SOUND *Desert senna – Senna armata http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=44131 ©2014 Neal Kramer https://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/135--cassia-armata
  160. 160. © Project SOUND Desert senna: medium Sonoran pea-shrub  Size:  3-5 ft tall  4-6 ft wide  Growth form:  Mounded to sprawling sub-shrub  Densely branched  Drought deciduous; stems/branches can photosynthesize or become dormant  Foliage:  Leaves small and simple; often no leaves  Roots: deep & shallow ©2004 Heath McAllister ©2017 Jean Pawek
  161. 161. © Project SOUND Flowers are fantastic  Blooms: in spring - usually April- May in S. CA  Flowers:  Golden yellow or slightly orange  Small clusters of flowers at ends of branches (mostly)  Flowers typical shape for Senna (Cassia); 5 petals with somewhat pea-like shape  Vegetative reproduction:  Sprouting from stem http://www.answers.com/topic/dudleya©1992 Gary A. Monroe ©2010 Michelle Cloud-Hughes
  162. 162. Seed starting: desert legumes  Let seeds mature on the plant (need dry heat); use relatively new seed if possible  Soften hard seed coat (may also have waxy coating) by one of following:  Pouring boiling water over seeds – let cool and sit overnight  Soaking 24 hours; change water 3 times  Nicking seeds  May need to germinate in wet paper towel or coffee filter in sealed plastic bag (room temp)  Plant several seeds in 1-gal pot with well-drained medium; © Project SOUND https://seedsofsuccess.smugmug.com/Bureau-of-Land- Management/BLM-NV052B/i-c7hzjtr perhaps 30% will grow
  163. 163. © Project SOUND Plant Requirements  Soils:  Texture: very well-drained – sandy or rocky; may be able to get by with berming  pH: any local  Light: full sun  Water:  Winter: needs at least 6 inches  Summer: no to very occasional – Water Zone 1 to 1-2 – after first year  Fertilizer: none; likes poor soils; no mulch or inorganic mulch  Other: tip-prune or prune lightly in fall for fuller shape ©2004 Michelle Cloud-Hughes
  164. 164. © Project SOUND Interesting drought tolerant habitat Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences http://benkolstad.net/?p=7779  Desert and other water-wise gardens; good accent plant  Larval habitat for Cloudless Sulphur  Medicinal: laxative
  165. 165. Why all the Peas in the Sonoran Desert? Come next month to find out © Project SOUND http://www.plantmaster.com/gardens/eplant.php?plantnum=265
  166. 166. Why visit the Colorado Desert (when we’re focusing on ‘Gardens that Heal’)? © Project SOUND https://borregohiking.com/hiking/2011_fish_creek_wash_north_fork.html
  167. 167. Deserts/desert plants can play an important role in nature healing  Getting out in quiet, remote places – even for a day trip – can be very therapeutic  In our gardens, desert plants can:  Add just enough novelty to hit the sweet-spot between too much and too little stimulation  Inspire us to learn more about our California home  Force us to try a new challenge  Stimulate us to take positive action: mental and physical © Project SOUND
  168. 168. Challenges to the unique Colorado Desert flora/fauna: the same as for all California habitats  Human effects  Growth & development/ habitat loss  Agriculture  Invasive species  Ground water issues  Recreation/OHV  Climate change © Project SOUND https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/california/north-algodones-dunes-wilderness Taking action to better our environment is healthy for us as well (yes – that’s evidence-based)
  169. 169. Check the wildflower hotlines and go visit a local desert area – for your health! © Project SOUND http://www.theabf.org/wildflowers

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