Flowers of the Sonoran Desert

I have made a habit of packing my tiny digital camera, and hopping on my bike in search of native wildflowers.
Featured here are some beautiful flowers blooming in the desert durring mid Spring and Summer.
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Purple Pricky Pear Desert Globemallow Englemann's Prickly Pear
Purple Pricky Pear Cactus
Opuntia violacea
The pads of this gorgeous cactus varies in shades of purple and green through extreme temperatures. A favorite among artists, photographers, and designers, the Purple Prickly Pear has become a popular contemporary icon of the Sonoran Desert.
Desert Globemallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua
This perennial herb is a delicacy among Big Horn Sheep and it's pollen attracts all varieties of bees. However humans may want to admire the Globemallo from a distance; the leaves contain hairs that are an eye irritant, hence it's nickname "plantas muy malas"
(very bad plants).
Englemann's Prickly Pear Cactus
Opuntia phaeacantha
This is the most common prickly pear cactus in Arizona and one of the most usefull to animals and humans. The fruits are eaten by birds and rodents, its pads are a javelina's food staple. Humans often use fruits to make jam and red dye, and the pads can be found on plates in some of the trendiest restaurants.
Golden Crownbeard Ocotillo flower Mexican Gold Poppy
Golden Crownbeard
Verbesina enceliodes
Used by Native Americans and early settlers to treat spider bites, skin diseases, and boils.
Ocotillo
Fouquieria splendens
Realted to the Boojum tree of Baja, Mexico. It is used in Arizona to create "Living Fences".
Mexican Gold Poppy
Eschscholitza mexicana
This annual remains open only in full sunlight. After abundant rains, parts of the desert are covered in fields of poppies.
Staghorn Cholla Palo Verde Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus
Staghorn Cholla
Opuntia versicolor
(Pronounced CHOY-ya)This cactus is named Staghorn because its forked branches resemble deer antlers. New fruits are produced on the ends of last years fruits creating a chain.
Blue Paloverde
Cercidium floridum
Arizona's state tree:
Paloverde is Spanish for "green stick"; indeed, this tree has smooth, green bark. The seed pods are delicious food originally used by Native Americans and wildlife and is now becoming popular in southwestern cuisine.
Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus
Echinocereus engelmannii
The fruits produced after the flower of this cactus are edible. Onced the skin is peeled, the sugary, strawberry like fruit can be eaten.

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