Monday, September 26, 2011

Sonoran Cholla Flowers, spring 2010

May 3, 2010, a quick jaunt down to the granite hills south of Sonoyta, Sonora, looking for Echinomastus. Cylindropuntia and Echinocereus in flower, great colors.

Not planned, but it was the last trip to Mexico with The Poetess. Physically, anyway. Subsequent trips were inhabited by her, sometimes excruciatingly so. More on that later. I wouldn't return to Mexico until Mid-October, 2010, for a strange trip to Bahia Kino. That's about 6 posts off.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meadview 1, to the southern edge of the Grand Canyon

About 15 months ago I headed up to Meadview, Arizona, in search of flowering Echinomastus johnsonii and whatever else I might find. Late April in the Sonoran is a lovely time. Here is a variety of Cylindropuntia ("cholla") flowers and Opuntia basilaris, from the Carefree AZ area on the way up:

I stopped off north of Wickenburg to check out Echinomastus johnsonii 'lutescens', the yellow/green flowered form. Fantastic transition here to the Mojave flora.

Also stopped near Kingman to see some amazing Opuntia basilaris, including one with double flowers, and some great Ferocactus cylindraceus and Mammillaria tetrancistra. The first an Opuntia erinacea, for comparison to the ursina photos coming up later.

Also stopped near Chloride and got some pics of the densely spined Echinomastus johnsonii in that area, and stopped along the way past Dolan Springs for Cylindropuntia multigeniculata.

Finally made it up to Meadview and photographed close to the town, then went out to the canyon at sunset. The Opuntia erinacea ursina on the canyon's edge are some of the most beautiful cacti I've ever seen. The entire area is just mind blowing. Amazing vistas, incredible Echinomastus johnsonii with purple/magenta flowers, strange Opuntia hybrids, enormous Echinocactus polycephalus/xeranthemoides intermediates (I think), sort of a primeval desert paradise. It has since become one of my favorite places on earth.

I went out the next morning before heading home and took a few more pics, including some of the Opuntia hybrids that inhabit the cliffs near the town.

The incredible form of engelmannii up this way is chrysocentrus.

Not only do the Opuntia erinacea ursina have amazing shaggy long spines of a great gold/pale color, the flowers come out a bright yellow and then fade to incredible, bronzy and salmon colors.

I finally headed home, taking a well maintained dirt road from south of Meadview to Route 66 near Hackberry. Cool claret cup type on the rocks along Route 66:

Then a short stop at another favorite habitat, the area around Peach Springs, to visit with Agave utahensis and some other great plants.

A fantastic couple of days!