Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Early last April, I started a search for an obscure form of Echinomastus, long synonimized with Echinomastus johnsonii, an entity described by JP Hester in 1934 as Echinomastus arizonicus. It was originally recorded from Yuma County and that confused me for a good while, as Yuma County currently is far south of any likely johnsonii territory. It wasn't until some more research that I found out that E. arizonicus is localized in Maricopa and La Paz Counties, and that the La Paz County plants are in territory that used to be Yuma County. Anyway, my search originally took me west of Phoenix toward Bouse, AZ.

O. basilaris already flowering in the lowlands.

I think these are Cylindropuntia Xcongesta, but I'm not positive. They might just be especially congested echinocarpa.

I went down an old mining road and found some great habitat for Ferocactus cylindraceus and Echinocereus engelmannii, but no Echinomastus.

A forest of Cylindropuntia bigelovii.

The only crested Ferocactus cylindraceus I have seen.

Cylindropuntia flower.

On the way back out from Bouse, I caught sight of this small herd of desert bighorns. Breathtaking borregos.

Another stop for more searching for Echinomastus, to no avail. Some beauty, however.

Interesting transitional desert out here, with some markers of the Mojave and some of the Sonoran.

I was determined to see some Echinomastus, so I drove up Vulture Mine Road to a population that seems to have some characters of both johnsonii and arizonicus, south of Wickenburg.

The next weekend, a friend and I did indeed find the Echinomastus arizonicus outside Bouse. Stay tuned.

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