Category Archives: Plants

A look at the plant life of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Gypsum, and the Plants that Live On It

The mineral gypsum appears all over the world, but is rarely seen on the surface anywhere except in deserts. Gypsum, is a form of Calcium Sulphate in which each CaSO4 molecule is chemically combined with two water molecules in a … Continue reading

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Lichen Revolution

Back in 2009 I wrote a little article about lichen, those symbiotic organisms that have intrigued biologists for so long. At the time I wrote the piece, it was generally believed that lichen were usually a partnership of two species, … Continue reading

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More New Arrivals

Botanizers are a bit like birders. They’ll go to great lengths to see a particular plant. This year, West Texas is a paradise for botanizers. Since we are having such a fine year out here, I’m adding wildflower photos as … Continue reading

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The Slender Evolvulus

The rainy season in the Chihuahuan Desert brings out flowering plants of all descriptions. The sheer numbers of Shrubby Senna, Trumpet Flowers, Skeletonleaf Goldeneyes, Broom weed, and other yellow flowers can be so overwhelming that it is easy to overlook … Continue reading

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Cochineal

Several years ago in an article on prickly pears I mentioned the most famous of prickly pear parasites, the Cochineal bug. A specially-bred strain of this tiny insect produced the brightest, most permanent red dye in the world. In time, … Continue reading

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Jatropa dioica (Leatherstem)

Leatherstem grows as loosely clustered individual stems that grow straight up from the ground, curving downwards in a gentle arch. It is a member of the Euphorbia family, a relationship which is easily seen in the following photograph. The dark … Continue reading

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Desert Night-Blooming Cereus

Peniocereus gregii. Considered rare in this area, the Desert Night Blooming Cereus is difficult to photograph. The blossoms open only once, after dark, and close at first light. Moreover, because this cactus cannot support its own weight, it always grows … Continue reading

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