This is the time of year that living in the Sonoran Desert really pays off: balmy days, cool nights, and the hills are alive with the colors of Spring. Here are a few you can expect to see.
Desert Marigold: [Bailea multiradiata] grayish, almost silver foliage plant with a perfect hemisphere of sunny yellow blossoms. The name Marigold comes from “Mary’s Gold” in honor of the Virgin.
Brittlebush: [Encelia farinose] ubiquitous in the Sonoran foothills and by far the most prolific most any year, this yellow haired beauty is known as the “arnica of the desert” for its ability to ease sore muscles.
Pink Fairy Duster: [Callindra eriophylla] easy to see how it got its name. Most of the year it blends in with the desert scrub, an inconspicuous part of the desert, but in the spring, for a few brief weeks, it becomes a pink splash of fluffy color and a source of delicious nectar for dozens of our desert pollinators.
The Desert Poppy: [ Kallstroemia grandiflora] is not a Poppy at all nor even closely related, but the resemblance is there, and the display is as brilliant and spectacular as the California Poppy [Eschscholtzia californica]. Say those two Latin names ten times real fast.
Fishhook pincushion: [Mammillaria spp.] a tiny cactus hiding under Sonoran Desert shrubs sporting a crown of dainty pink flowers.
Well, you get the idea, and this is just a partial list of the largest and showiest in the desert. There are many more spring blooms out there nestled in our home gardens, scores of dainty little jewels imported from other deserts, that will be but a memory in a few more weeks. A nice memory though, one that reminds us of the ever-changing beauty of the Sonoran Desert.