Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ground Squirrel & Creosote Bush

Yesterday's focus in our pre-school class at the Botanical Garden was ground squirrels and the creosote bush. The ground squirrels are not to be confused with their bigger bushy tailed cousins that live in trees.

Below is a picture of a creosote bush, though my picuture isn't that great. Go here to see a better picture - if you're really curious. One of the most interesting things about the bush is that its leaves are covered in a resin that acts sort of like sunscreen and allows it to survive the harsh desert summers. When it rains (or when you squirt the bush with water) it smells wonderful. Not sure how to describe the smell other than, it smells like rain. :) Some people like to plant a creosote bush so that they can clip sprigs to hang in the shower for the aromatherapy.

This beauty caught my eye on our nature walk in the garden. It was a HUGE bush full of these flowers. I forget the exact name but it involved an "orchid" in the title. And, I thought orchids were only grown in humid places. Silly me.

This is called a "living fence" though it doesn't appear to be living. It's made from the ocotillo cactus - which looks dead when it's dormant. The natives would use this cactus to create barriers by clipping branches and sticking them in the ground. Sometimes they take root and come back to life.
The saguaro is my favorite cactus. On one of the tours of the garden I learned that to move one of these beauties, you must have a permit. When transplanted, they only need a one cubic foot root bulb because they grow "rain roots" to soak up water after a rain. Also, the transplanter uses a compass to set the cactus in the ground exactly according to the North/South East/West settings from its previous home. Below is a crested saguaro - they are unique and a mystery. No one knows what causes the crests. Go here to see more pictures of crested sagauros. Another bit of trivia: it takes at least 70 years for a saguaro to grow its first "arm."

Do you see what I see? On the ground is a fallen saguaro. I think it looks like a crocodile...or maybe an alligator (what's the difference?)


Shelley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shelley said...

sorry I noticed about 3 misspelled words in that last post.

Do you see what I see? On the ground is a fallen saguaro. I think it looks like a crocodile...or maybe an alligator (what's the difference?)

Crocodiles have long skinny snouts and alligators have blunt rounded snouts (among many other differences); that would make this fallen saguaro look like an alligator.

MajorScoop said...

The saguaro with its crested arm looks wild! Crazy how it grows that way.

Zach and Julie Anderson said...

It is so nice to know the difference! So cool, now I need to remember.

Also, thanks for the pictures...they are beautiful


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