Monday, January 16, 2012

Foliage Follow-up - 1/12

I wasn't going to post this time. But once I heard a soft rain falling on the skylights, and took in that incredible scent outside, my mood changed. Enjoy a rarity: rain drops on plants (though not all is foliage).

Blackspine Prickly Pear / Opuntia macrocentra:


"Cristiani Spineless" Prickly Pear / Opuntia -----, ala Dave Ferguson. But not all things considered "spineless" are harmless:

This cactus has vicious glochids, and this Cristiani is 1/2 Sicilian:-) But that's all for the spiky plants...

Green Mormon Tea / Ephedra viridis:

The moisture rolled right off of those green stems; a number of plants here did that, for whatever reason.

Speaking of moisture (.05" of rain), I'm glad we have 40's and higher humidity. The foothills are nicely washed off, rejoicing:


Did I say "that's all for spiky plants"? Of course there's more! And they look as good with rain drops on them as snow.

Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii selection from large-padded ones common between T or C and Socorro:

Most pads are 10-14" in size. Unprotected, these took last winter better than many O. engelmannii native right nearby. Weird!


Beargrass / Nolina texana:


Texas Sotol / Dasylirion texanum:

Or is that Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum? Not sure where the grower collected the seed, so it's your call!

Blue or Gray Sotol / Dasylirion wheeleri:

That is quite a favorite, tough plant for landscapes, Abq area to El Paso, and many other Desert SW cities. It is native to rocky hills in central NM, then deep into northern Mexico.

Others call it Desert Spoon, and some scientific publications call it Wheeler's Sotol. Though some scientists are quite stodgy and rather unteachable, others are not. And the few Wheelers I've known have always been fun and interesting people!

And of course, there's a alcohol distilled from this sotol! It's the state drink of Chihuahua, New Mexico's neighboring state across the border; I'm told that Dasylirion wheeleri is most common one used.

Big Bend Agave / Agave havardiana:
 

Beaked Yucca / Yucca rostrata:

A side note. Some of the foliage above, adorned with rain drops, has a bluish or grayish cast. That's a mechanism to help conserve moisture, which many plants have, where clouds, rain, and humidity are rare.

The latter is why I posted today!

And also because Pam digs foliage - here

30 comments:

  1. Great tutorial on some familiar plants. Spineless doesn't work here, the deer love them.

    Nice photos, now the break is over so back to work!

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    1. Thanks, interesting stuff out there...spines don't even work here in the wild west, with these jackrabbits!

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  2. Hi Dave, great post as always. Some old friends from my greenhouse days here. Do grow ephedera outside here tho. You are starring with us on GDRT later this month. We r looking forward to it!
    Best
    R

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    1. Gracias! That is most interesting on Ephedra outside there, but you often do have dry summers plus what I consider mild winters. Me too!

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  3. All beauties, every single one of them!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing something you get to more than I (raindrops keep falling...)!

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  4. Oh wow, beautiful post of cacti!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed...and enjoy the other cacti you have down there that we only have indoors!

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  5. I'm loving that Blue/Gray Sotol...that color and the serrated edges...magical!

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    1. Only lately have I begun to notice the blueish or grayish mottling on the foliage...right you are.

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  6. Glad you changed your mind...really cool photos.

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    1. Thanks...amazing what some rain does to change one's mood here in NM!

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  7. Sotols are some of my very favorite plants -- not as dangerous as stiff-armed agaves, but they still have plenty of toothy leaves to catch the sunlight (and oak leaves, this time of year). Thanks for joining in with a great selection of foliage plants.

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    1. You bet - once I smelled the rain and plants outside with my morning cup of joe, I was moved!

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  8. Love the purple cast to the black spine opuntia. I hope the .05" was enough to soak in a little and not just give you some great plant shots. We got a little more rain than that, but not much. Still every little bit helps!

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    1. I agree on that cactus, and with the frosts here in Nov and December, that purple really pops. When the storm was finished, we ended up with .07"...not much, but it added to 2" of precip in Dec. All I ask is 1/4" a month in winter here, so maybe 1 more storm!

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  9. Fun to see your "washed" foliage drinking up the winter moisture. My fav? The blackspine Opuntia. Gorgeous!

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    1. I like the different light on the hills and plants when it has rained...and that purple prickly pear...that one is really tough, so I must wonder if DBG has that outside?

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  10. Love those sotols. The deer don't bother them. More and more, my favorite plants are things the deer don't bother.
    I never heard of the drink made from sotol. Learn something new, every time I visit here.

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    1. Me too...I still remember a hillside of mostly sotols near Canyon Lake last March. Here, the rabbits mowed down most of our sotols the first winter, but never again since even the last few dry years...they must toughen up! Sotol is not shabby if it is a good one!

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  11. Ephedra, seems like I've seen those on the front range in Colorado. Is that possible?

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    1. I have seen a few different Ephedra species in Denver, but most like sandier soil than they have. A really unique plant, that I wish was used more. I'll be posting on it soon!

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  12. I love the rain. I think we may be getting more soon:) I have several varieties of the Opuntia and my favorite right now is the Blackspine from your first pic. I love the spines on this beast. But I think the Cristiani is an original:) Enjoy the rain and clouds. A bit jealous I'll admit:) PS. Do you think this wildflower season is going to be wild or what???!!!! It has been terrible for the past couple years but we are looking at a fantastic Sonoran show in about a month or so.....please please snap shots of your wildflower show and I promise I'll do the same over here. I'm pretty excited about this year as are a lot of Tucsonans:) Time to teach. Have a good weekend! Chris

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    1. Rain, then snow here by sunrise! I'll have to not only take spring wildflower pics up here, but down your way earlier...I agree, this might be a good one. The Blackspine P. Pear makes it over to around Benson, I thought...a favorite.

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  13. I just discovered your blog via Loree's Danger Garden. I can't wait to spend more time going through your previous posts!

    Gerhard
    :: Bamboo and More ::

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    1. Thanks for visiting, and I look forward to hearing what you think of my high desert SW perspective. I think I found your excellent blog from Danger and Hoover Boo...nice to network!

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  14. We are fun, aren't we? Haha!

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    1. Very fun! Regardless if talking plants, weather, or just making jokes, a Wheeler is usually not too far away...

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  15. Interesante la muestra de ejemplares amigo, y seguro están felices con un poco de agua.

    Hasta pronto.

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    1. Me alegro de que visitar! La lluvia y la nieve es una sorpresa tan agradable para nosotros en invierno, y las flores de primavera puede ser bueno este año?

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