Monday, July 18, 2011

Desert Plants (Here)

Lately I noticed this small tree or bush has really greened up. I'm sure it was around last year, but everything was green then so it didn't stick out like a sore thumb. Its actually the greenest thing anywhere around it and that makes me wonder what it is. Its too small to have deep roots and is also competing for water with the ironwood its growing next to. It must manage water a lot better than other plants around here. I don't have a clue what it is do you?

The Creosotes would be second in line for hanging in there around here. Mesquites are few and far between on this property so that leaves them out, but they seem to be doing much better than anything else around here and are loaded with beans which I hear makes good meal for baking bread and other stuff IF you have a mill to process them. There are a few on this land, but I'm lazy and they are too far away and in grassy areas and I don't want to get snake bit trying to get a picture of one so just use your imagination please. ;)

Some of the Yuccas are starting to come around now while others? Well I think they are goners. I think its much too late in the season for them to bloom and bear fruit, but I guess time will tell.

All of the Ephedra around here looks like it is totally dead so I guess time will tell on that to.

The Sage seems to be greening up, but I don't remember what time of year it is that it puts on the purple flowers which no doubt brought about the old saying Purple Sage.

This is Ironwood (Which isn't even supposed to be in this desert), but it is. No telling how long it has been here but they can live for up to 1500 years and get up to about 45 feet tall. They also grow at a very slow rate. I've been watering this one regularly with ice melt and can't tell that it has grown a bit. Seems to be about the same as the ones I'm not watering and at about the same size. I've yet to see one over a few feet tall down here. At some point they put out small red berries that look about like holly berries and coyotes love them. (So does Pepper) Last year when they were loaded with berries there were days when she would have nothing to do with her dog food and would strip those bushes of the berries instead. They don't seem to digest too well because her poop was always full of what looked like undigested berries. The way she did and I suppose coyotes do is walk up to the bushed and open their mouth, bite down on twigs with the berries on them and them back up stripping the berries off. Ironwood is also a popular hobby wood and it is so hard that it has to be worked like steel. Can be ground turned on metal lathes and so on. A lot of people make handles for knives and so on out of it.

Some of the Prickly Pear seem to be coming around now and others seem to be goners. I think they only bloom later in the season or maybe in the Fall so maybe there's hope for them yet? A lot of people make jam, jelly and wine from the fruit. Last year several of us were lucky enough to sample some that Just Me made and it was delicious. A mescal type liquor can also be distilled from fermenting the pads. Haven't had a chance to try that. :( 

The strawberry cactus seem to be making a comeback and as you can see here this one is actually trying to bloom. They put on some really beautiful flowers before the fruit comes under them. The fruit on these is GREAT and taste a lot like kiwi fruit and also make some good jam or jelly from what I hear. Some even make wine from the fruit, but as of yet I've not had the chance to sample it.

Evidently the 3/4 inch and 2/10 inch of rain we've had was enough to trigger the comeback for some plants. Of course as said in an earlier thread the Ocotilla was the first to start reviving.


  1. From the looks of the leave structure in the blow up, that could possibly be a "bird of paradise". If it is, they need water and grow fast....beautiful flowers a couple times a year.

  2. Its a good 20 or more feet from the ocotilla that I do water at times and nothing else around it is doing any good besides the ironwood next to it, but I suppose it could be a bird of paradise? I might start throwing a little ice melt on it instead of the ironwood that watering doesn't seem to effect.

  3. Hi pal,nice to read your postings.I have land and a trailer out in the "north Corazones" part of the ranch. I get out there as often as time permits.Im there more often as I read your postings here..Im with you in spirit,and enjoy my almost daily visits to the most beautiful part of the world to me..Terlingua,Through your eyes and posts..Keep it up.Thanks..JOHN

  4. JV, my other land is in north Corazones. Maybe we're neighbors? I think some of that area has gotten about the same amount of rain I have here. I need to go see if I can still get to it.

  5. Tffnguy

    The rain will come in Sept. Oct. and when it does come it will be a frickin deluge. I also think we will have an early winter this year. In 96' the first big cold front came through in late September in El Paso and it was a cold one (1996 was a drought year too)

    Nature always balances things out despite what Al Gore says. So I would gear up early for winter.

  6. CC, I'm buying land in Alaska for next summer and Panama for this winter. I'll stay here for the two week spring and fall. Have a cheap Lear jet you want to sell?

  7. that is a bird of paradise or the japanese air plant it gets its moisture from the humidity in the air not its roots so putting water on it really wont help it but if you put some seltzer on it they love the carbon dioxcide given off by the bubbles. get a rooted cutting from it and bring it inside and put it in front of the swamp cooler and watch it grow..


  9. Oh Crap, now I have that song in my head...
    May the Bird Of Paradise fly up your nose!

  10. Thanks to the both of you. I'll start watering it and spraying it down with champagne from time to time. It should really be a happy camper then. ;) At any rate I'll be watching it to see what happens. There used to be a bird of paradise in front of my grandmother's house years ago and now that its been brought up it does appear to have the same type leaves. It might turn out to be the prettiest thing on this land?

    Frann, you can take your music with you everywhere you go now. No radio needed. (BTW I hate it when that happens) That could be a new song for Nick to pickup on.

  11. Those are beautiful pictures of all your desert plants. Just be glad you don't have many mesquite trees on your land. I swear every other day I remove the baby ones another pops out somewhere else. They are a royal PAIN!!!

    I couldn't help but smile as I read you want to move to Alaska for the summer, being thinking about that myself. Funny how heat never bothered me as a kid, the hotter the better. Now I don't do so good in it.

  12. MsB, actually I like mesquites, but only the large trees. No chance one would ever have a chance to get large around here in my life time though.

    There are a lot of winter Texans that own property and winter down here from Alaska, Canada and several other northern states. They may have the right idea. Actually I don't have any desire to do to Alaska, but further north probably wouldn't be too bad for the summer. Of course I'd want out of tornado alley though. Guess about everywhere will have its drawbacks.