- Author: Jenni Dodini
Steve and I took our winter getaway trip south to Palm Desert. As per our usual, we looked for hiking trails nearby (that have no entry fees), and this is a good one. Easy and well-marked trails, plant regrowth the areas, and composting restrooms are among the amenities. The docents are knowledgeable and available for questions. However, no dogs allowed. The docents did say that the best time to come is in March as the desert is pretty much in full bloom then. (You still have time to plan a quick trip if you want to get some sun.)
The bioregion here is the Sonora Desert which gets around 3.23 inches of rainfall a year, and only about 0.41 inches of summertime rain. There are 270 native plants to this area according to Calscape.
The pictures below are of the creosote bushes (Larrea tridentata) that are all over the place. They bloom small yellow flowers with 5 petals, and as you can see, produce fluffy seeds that disperse with the help of the wind. They grow to about 3 meters tall and have dark green leaves. If wet, they give off a strong odor of creosote.
The other two plants that were bloom in and caught my attention are the Hairy Desert Sunflower bad the Hairy Sand verbena.
The Desert sunflower - Gerea canescens - is classed as an annual herb and grows around 2.6 feet tall. It blooms in the winter and spring, needs full sun, sandy soil, and very little water. It propagates by seeds that need 2 weeks to 5 months of 122 degrees F temperature!!!! ( Guess it will NOT grow in our area, and I'm happy to live without it. )
The Hairy Sand Verbena - Abronia villosa - also known by the common name of desert sand Verbena - is a very sticky flower with a sweet fragrance that attracts bees. It flowers all year, but most profusely from February through May.
Overall, this trip has had very good weather with afternoon temps in the low 70s. The storms that are hitting at home, although desperately needed, are not reaching this far south. Just a bit of rain is falling here.