This morning we hiked up the buckskin mountain trail above the campground to get a better view of the location. You can see below our campsite which is only about half full of snow birds. We have been here for about a week or so and will head east to Tucson later in the week.
The Teddy Bear Cholla gets its appearance from spine encasing sheaths often referred to as "jumping cactus" The segmented joints detach easily and latch onto any passerby, human or animal, thus giving it the appearance of "jumping". I know as I encountered them last year in Tucson where they stuck to my shins and belly one day. ouch! Severa desert creatures, including rodents and Big Horn Sheep, depend on cactus fruit and pulp for food and water.
|Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus|
|This Palo Verde is very old. the dead limbs are connected to the green live trunks at the base.|
The Saquaro is often known and a "cactus hotel". Many animals, rodents, lizards, snakes and birds, seek shelter in cavities made in the fleshy sides by woodpeckers and flickers.
Desert Milkweed was a surprise find. It forms a clump of numerous slender, erect, gray-green stems that arise from a woody base. Historically, various Native Americans throughout its range have used desert milkweed as a medicinal plant. Others have considered it toxic. The Seris used the roots for headaches, toothaches and heart problems. Locally, Pimas used it as both a purgative and an emetic, and to alleviate sore eyes and stomach disorders. Desert milkweed is fit for a queen-a queen butterfly, that is. Typical of milkweeds, this species serves as a nectar source for the adult butterflies, as well as a food source for their caterpillars. The developing larvae will munch on the foliage as well as the buds and flowers. Don't worry-more will develop later! This milkweed also attracts the colorful tarantula hawk wasp.