October extremes

October 2018 was the wettest in central Arizona history in about 150 years of records. October 2019 was tied for the driest. Zero precipitation. Nonetheless, life goes on. A number of plants are in flower now into November. One of the beneficiaries of last October's rains is turpentine bush. It flowered in profusion this year, while last fall - remember, the wettest recorded - it took the year off. There is a reason for this: flowering occurs on new growth from the previous spring. Spring 2018 was one of the driest on record and there was very little to no new growth that year. That was reflected in the absence of turpentine bush flowers in the fall of last year. Partially as a result of the tremendous moisture last fall, combined with a moderate spring rain regime, turpentine bushes produced a good crop of new growth in spring 2019, leading to a good flowering season this fall.

Turpentine bush is an important plant to two groups of animals: local and migratory winged insects, and seed-eating birds. The plant can cover wide swaths of ground in the Arizona Upland and interior chaparral communities. It's a productive nectar plant, and the flowers produce numerous small achenes - tiny sunflower seed-like fruit - that feed the local and migrating finches.

Posted by stevejones stevejones, November 07, 2019 14:29

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Broom Snakeweed Gutierrezia sarothrae

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:37 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Turpentine Bush Ericameria laricifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:39 AM MST

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What

Wright's Buckwheat Eriogonum wrightii

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:41 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Creosote Resin Gall Midge Asphondylia resinosa

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:42 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:43 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:44 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Gall and Forest Midges Family Cecidomyiidae

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:46 AM MST

Description

Durned if I can determine a species on this one.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Creosote Gall Midge Asphondylia auripila

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:49 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Ivyleaf Groundcherry Physalis hederifolia

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:51 AM MST

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What

Smallseed Sandmat Euphorbia polycarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:52 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

White-throated Woodrat Neotoma albigula

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 08:58 AM MST

Description

Species ID presumed based on range and this document listing it as the sole Neotoma species in the preserve

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Photos / Sounds

What

Christmas Cholla Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:08 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Cochineal Scale Bugs Genus Dactylopius

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:08 AM MST

Description

Host Cylindropuntia leptocaulis

Photos / Sounds

What

Banana Yucca Yucca baccata

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:14 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Buckhorn Cholla Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:16 AM MST

Description

Dry, spiny fruit typical for the species

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Photos / Sounds

What

Anderson Thornbush Lycium andersonii

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:18 AM MST

Description

Narrow leaves, light-colored stems

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Photos / Sounds

What

Coues' Senna Senna covesii

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:26 AM MST

Description

None seen in flower today

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Photos / Sounds

What

Woolly Plantain Plantago patagonica

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:26 AM MST

Description

Remant spring ephemeral

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What

Crucifixion Thorn Canotia holacantha

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:28 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:32 AM MST

Description

Host Larrea tridentata

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What

Creosote Bush Larrea tridentata

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:35 AM MST

Description

Out of season flowering relatively common locally

Photos / Sounds

What

Red-gland Spurge Euphorbia melanadenia

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:44 AM MST

Description

Some cyathia with white glands

Photos / Sounds

What

Blackfoot Daisy Melampodium leucanthum

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:48 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Little Desert Trumpet Eriogonum trichopes

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:50 AM MST

Description

Late-season flowers

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What

Desert Trumpet Eriogonum inflatum

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 09:52 AM MST

Description

Late-season flowers

Photos / Sounds

What

California Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:01 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Odora Porophyllum gracile

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:08 AM MST

Description

Prickles on fruit with apical hooks

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Photos / Sounds

What

Slimleaf Bursage Ambrosia confertiflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:09 AM MST

Description

Prickles on fruit with apical hooks

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Photos / Sounds

What

Parish's Goldeneye Bahiopsis parishii

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:10 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

California Barrel Cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:11 AM MST

Description

Late-season flower

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Photos / Sounds

What

Cactus Wren Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:15 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Curly Herissantia Herissantia crispa

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:15 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Parry's False Prairie-Clover Marina parryi

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:18 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Chuparosa Justicia californica

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:26 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Blue Palo Verde Parkinsonia florida

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:32 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Poverty Three-Awn Aristida divaricata

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:33 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Big Bur-Sage Ambrosia ambrosioides

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:35 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Triangle-leaf Bursage Ambrosia deltoidea

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:35 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Brownplume Wirelettuce Stephanomeria pauciflora

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:41 AM MST

Description

Pappus lacking bristles at proximal end

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Creosote Gall Midge Asphondylia auripila

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:42 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:43 AM MST

Description

Badly backlit - pushed the exposure

Photos / Sounds

What

Porter's Muhly Muhlenbergia porteri

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:45 AM MST

Description

In flower - anthers and stigma present

Tags

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Soaptree Yucca Yucca elata

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:48 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Graythorn Ziziphus obtusifolia var. canescens

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:53 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Desert Mistletoe Phoradendron californicum

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 10:56 AM MST

Description

Fruit fertilized in early spring beginning to swell

Photos / Sounds

What

Brown-spined Prickly-Pear Opuntia phaeacantha

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 11:00 AM MST

Description

Some evidence of introgression with O. engelmannii - glochids on rim of pads, spines white, spines on some lower areoles. Pads small and plant low-spreading.

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Purple Three-Awn Aristida purpurea var. purpurea

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 11:01 AM MST

Tags

Photos / Sounds

What

Skeleton Weed Eriogonum deflexum

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 11:08 AM MST

Photos / Sounds

What

Fluffgrass Dasyochloa pulchella

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 11:09 AM MST

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Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Teddy-bear Cholla Cylindropuntia bigelovii

Observer

stevejones

Date

November 4, 2019 11:22 AM MST

Tags

Comments

Thumb

Thanks for posting this, it is a good read. The turpentine bush's flowering schedule is a fortunate twist;. They have been covered with insects each time I have encountered them this fall, and they are generally one of the few things in flower right now (at least flowering in profusion).

Posted by mccreedy about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Interesting discussion. Thanks for posting!

Posted by nathantaylor about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Very cool! I didn't realize there was such a lag time for growth/flowering.

Posted by marissa-b about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thanks, Marissa - there's another cool "lag time" story in the desert mistletoe: female flowers fertilized in January/February this year are just now beginning to swell and ripen. The fruit are good winter bird chow.

Posted by stevejones about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Love the post, thanks Steve

Posted by ejensen89 about 1 month ago (Flag)
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Thank you for the great post. It reminded me of Joseph Wood Krutch's book, The Desert Year--a great read. He said, "In nature, one never sees a thing for the first time until one has seen it for the fiftieth. It never means much until it has become part of some general configuration, until it has become not a 'view' or a 'sight' but an integrated world of which one is a part; until one is part of what the biologist would call part of a biota" (p. 4). Your post went beyond an "observation" to integrating us all into the biota.

Posted by canyonbill about 1 month ago (Flag)

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