One of the most exciting times in the Sonoran desert is Spring. This is the period where the desert’s most natural wonders, cacti, come into full bloom. And what a sight they are!
What makes cacti so interesting is their ability to store water and bloom even in the driest years bringing the desert fully alive. These breathtakingly beautiful natural wonders are best viewed in March, April and May and blooms vary in both design and in color.
From prickly pears to saguaros, the Lost Dutchman State Park is one of the many state parks that boasts hundreds of wildflower species including the bright and vibrant cacti flowers.
Interesting finds include:
Hedge hog cactus, whose fruit is eaten by birds and rodents, has pretty bright, cup shaped pink flowers that close in the night and open in the morning.
Barrel cactus, grows on the shady side and tends to lean, offering fruit to deer and javelina. These cacti can live up to 130 years.
Prickly pear cacti will feature yellow, pink, white and red bursts of color, while the magnificent saguaro, offers white blooms (Arizona’s state flower) that are so short lived that many last only one day. Saguaro cacti can grow up to 70 feet tall and weigh up to 4,500 pounds.
Many trees and shrubs will also be blossoming during this spectacular time in the desert, including the creosote bush which utilizes a lot of the surrounding ground water and provides great cover for small animals. The Sonoran desert also features the whitethorn acacia and palo verde (Spanish for green stick) which will house bright yellow blooms. Look for ironwood trees, which offer a heavy coat of lavender flowers. The ocotillo will also be a show stopper with spikes of red flowers appearing in spring and summer. The flowers can be dried and used in herbal teas while the stems are used as a spiny fence to keep animals in or out.
If you’re headed out to the Lost Dutchman state park to enjoy this incredible time of year out in the magical Superstition mountains, remember to stop by the Mammoth Mine Rock Shop and check out all the wonderful new specimens we’ve brought in from the recent Tucson Gem Show! We look forward to seeing you.