Anza Borrego, Jan 2018

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I took these photos at a field trip to the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, organised by the San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Image annotation is based on my memory and the checklist which was provided. Any errors are entirely my own.

Random Notes

The chuparosa (Justicia californica) seems to like flowering in January, many of the plants had red flowers, but were otherwise rather bare, i.e. they had no leaves.

The ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) had spines on its stems but no leaves. Their bark is green and photosynthetically active, though. The plant can generate enough assimilates from photosynthesis in the bark to flower (and to successfully produce fruit subsequently, I presume).

Barrel cactuses (Ferocactus cylindraceus) store water inside their succulent stems (typical of cactuses), and have rather long and strong spines to protect themselves from herbivores. Nonetheless, bighorn sheep have been observed to feed on barrel cactuses after knocking them over. This seems an interesting re-use of behaviours that have originally evolved for fighting.

Yuccas (Yucca schidigera) have very pointy leaves. They are in fact so pointy they can be used as needles, and the tips are attached to fibres in the leaf which can be used as threads.