Plant Families, Trees And Cacti

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Plant Families of the SW Desert

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Plant Families, Trees And Cacti

  1. 1. PLANT ID Taxonomy Credits: All photos from “Desert Ecology of Tucson, AZ” by Brad Fiero, PCC
  2. 2. Important Plant Families in the Sonoran Desert <ul><li>Cactaceae--Cacti </li></ul><ul><li>Fabaceae—Palo verdes, mesquites </li></ul><ul><li>Agavaceae—Agaves, yuccas </li></ul>
  3. 3. Fabaceae (Legumes) <ul><li>Legume or pea family </li></ul><ul><li>Includes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trees: Mesquites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shrubs: Dalea </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wildflowers: Senna </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Leaves <ul><li>Main role is photosynthesis (food for plant) </li></ul><ul><li>Three leaf parts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blade </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Petiole </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expanded leaf base </li></ul></ul>Picture from Desert Ecology of Tucson, AZ by Brad Fiero
  5. 5. Blade structure <ul><li>Simple: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blade is simple </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compound: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blade is divided into leaflets </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Types of compound leaves <ul><li>Palmately compound: leaflets radiate from a common point; like fingers from the palm of a hand </li></ul>
  7. 7. Types of compound leaves <ul><li>Pinnately compound: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Just primary leaflets </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bipinnately compound: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary and secondary leaflets </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Fabaceae (Legumes) <ul><li>Common features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pea-like flowers & pods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pinnate & bipinnate compound leaves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fertilize soil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Add nitrogen to the soil by mutualistic relationship bacteria in root nodules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Act as nurse plants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trees provide wood & shelter </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Agavaceae <ul><li>Agaves, yuccas, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Evergreen leaf succulents with sharp-pointed leaves arranged in a rosette around a very short stem </li></ul><ul><li>Provide food, shelter and alcohol </li></ul>
  10. 10. Agavaceae <ul><li>Agaves: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12 species in AZ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Most flower once in a lifetime between 10 & 30 years of age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pollinated by bats </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Agavaceae <ul><li>Yuccas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flower annually (most in May) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly pollinated by Yucca Moth </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Cacti are endemic to the Americas </li></ul><ul><li>All are succulents (but not all succulents are cacti) </li></ul>Cactaceae
  13. 13. Cact-eristics <ul><li>Areoles – place where spines, branches, and flowers come from </li></ul><ul><li>Petals and Sepals intergrade with each other </li></ul><ul><li>Flowers have many stamens </li></ul><ul><li>Flowers have multi-lobed stigma </li></ul><ul><li>Most use CAM photosynthesis </li></ul>
  14. 14. Cact-eristics
  15. 15. Cact-eristics <ul><li>6 major cactus groups </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Columnar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Barrel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hedgehog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pincushion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cholla </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prickly Pear </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Cact-eristics <ul><li>Columnar </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cylindrical stems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pleats run from bottom to top </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10 times taller than wide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Barrel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cylindrical stems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pleats run from bottom to top </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less than 10 times taller than wide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flowers from top of stem </li></ul></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Cact-eristics <ul><li>Hedgehog </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cylindrical stems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pleats run from bottom to top </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less than 10 times taller than wide </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Diameter less than 5” and less than 12” tall </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flowers from side of stems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spines not hooked </li></ul></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Cact-eristics <ul><li>Pincushion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Unbranched cylindrical stems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t have pleats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Species in Sonoran Desert less than 6” tall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Central spines from areole often hooked </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Opuntia <ul><li>Cholla </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Branched cylindrical stems with jointed segments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prickly Pear </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Have flattened, pad-like stems with jointed segments </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Opuntia <ul><li>Seeds have tan covering instead of shiny black of other cacti </li></ul>
  21. 21. Catclaw Acacia <ul><li>Grey or brown scaly bark </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves compound bipinnate </li></ul><ul><li>Curved, sharp spines </li></ul><ul><li>Pale yellow flowers in late spring </li></ul><ul><li>Make a tea from roots for stomach and kidney problems </li></ul>
  22. 22. Whitethorn Acacia <ul><li>Bipinnate compound leaves </li></ul><ul><li>White spines on young branches, none on old branches </li></ul><ul><li>Fragrant bright yellow flowers </li></ul>
  23. 23. Desert Ironwood <ul><li>Up to 35’ tall </li></ul><ul><li>Gray bark, lots of cracks. Wood chocolate brown </li></ul><ul><li>Pinnate compound leaves </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitive to frost – found almost only in Sonoran Desert </li></ul><ul><li>Dense wood that sinks in water </li></ul><ul><li>Grows extremely slowly </li></ul>
  24. 24. Velvet Mesquite <ul><li>Bipinnate compound leaves </li></ul><ul><li>Pods start green turn yellowish-brown </li></ul><ul><li>Deepest taproot – up t o160’ </li></ul><ul><li>To germinate, passes through animal gut, or needs several years of weathering </li></ul><ul><li>Important food source </li></ul>
  25. 25. Foothills Palo Verde <ul><li>Yellowish-green smooth bark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows tree to drop leaves in drought (drought deciduous) and can photosynthesize with its bark </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bipinnate compound leaves </li></ul><ul><li>Branches ends in a thorn, but no spine beneath leaves like in Blue Palo Verde </li></ul><ul><li>Largest petal in 5-petaled flower is white </li></ul>
  26. 26. Blue Palo Verde <ul><li>Yellowish-green smooth bark </li></ul><ul><li>Small, straight spines hidden under leaves </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves bipinnately compound with three or fewer secondary leaflets per primary leaflet (vs. four or more in Foothills Palo Verde) </li></ul><ul><li>Flowers in spring before Foothills Palo Verde </li></ul>
  27. 27. Saguaro (Ha:san) <ul><li>May live over 200 years and reach 75’ </li></ul><ul><li>Begin to flower at about 50 years old and branch between 50 and 100 years </li></ul><ul><li>Branches increase chance for pollination since flowers are at the end of branches </li></ul><ul><li>Everybody loves the fruit and seeds </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent fruit production even in times of drought </li></ul>
  28. 28. Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Jiawul) <ul><li>Commonly 2 – 4’ but can be taller </li></ul><ul><li>One barrel shaped stem </li></ul><ul><li>Hooked central spine from areole </li></ul><ul><li>Bloom in late summer </li></ul><ul><li>Yellow fruit stay on plant for long time </li></ul><ul><li>Taller plants tend to lean towards the Southwest </li></ul>
  29. 29. Hedgehog Cacti <ul><li>Up to 20” tall </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple ribbed stem </li></ul><ul><li>2-4 central spines (one longer than the others) </li></ul><ul><li>12-14 shorter radial spines </li></ul><ul><li>Spines are never hooked </li></ul><ul><li>Flowers are purplish </li></ul>
  30. 30. Fishhook Pincushion Cactus <ul><li>Commonly 6” or less </li></ul><ul><li>Pink flowers that grow in a ring; bright red fruit </li></ul><ul><li>Stem is not ridged </li></ul><ul><li>Central spine is hooked </li></ul><ul><li>Densely packed spines from areoles </li></ul><ul><li>Can have single stems or large clusters </li></ul><ul><li>Often found under nurse shrubs and trees </li></ul>
  31. 31. Prickly Pear Cacti (I:ibhai) <ul><li>From 1’ to several feet high </li></ul><ul><li>Flattened, jointed pads </li></ul><ul><li>Flowers last one day </li></ul><ul><li>Pads and fruits can be eaten </li></ul><ul><li>Can reproduce from seed, or from fallen pads </li></ul><ul><li>Several species in Sonoran Desert, with Engelmanns the most common </li></ul>
  32. 32. Jumping (Chain-fruit) Cactus <ul><li>Up to 8’ and taller </li></ul><ul><li>Green fruit that stay on plant for long time and form in long chains </li></ul><ul><li>Reproduce mostly from stem joints and fruit rind areoles </li></ul><ul><li>Joints are loosely joined so if lightly brushed appear to jump </li></ul>
  33. 33. Teddybear Cholla <ul><li>3-6’ tall </li></ul><ul><li>Trunk is dark and nearly branchless </li></ul><ul><li>Branches occur near top of plant </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit are yellow and spineless </li></ul><ul><li>Reproduce from joints where they fall on ground </li></ul>
  34. 34. Staghorn Cholla <ul><li>Similar to Buckhorn cholla, but fruit is spineless or lightly spined and stay on plant for more than a year </li></ul><ul><li>3’ – 15’ tall </li></ul><ul><li>Stem is green to purplish in color </li></ul><ul><li>Used for ciollem </li></ul>
  35. 35. Buckhorn Cholla <ul><li>Similar to Staghorn cholla, but fruit and buds are covered by spines </li></ul><ul><li>3’ – 15’ tall </li></ul><ul><li>Stem is green to purplish in color </li></ul><ul><li>Used for ciollem </li></ul><ul><li>More common on Tohono O’odham reservation than staghorn cholla </li></ul>
  36. 36. Christmas Cholla <ul><li>Grows to 2’, but taller if inside other shrubs </li></ul><ul><li>Segments thinner than pencil cholla </li></ul><ul><li>Fruit bright red and stays on plant through winter </li></ul>
  37. 37. Pencil Cholla <ul><li>Can grow to 9’ tall, but usually less </li></ul><ul><li>Each areole has 1 – 4 spines </li></ul><ul><li>Longest at over 1” and downward facing </li></ul>

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