Monday, March 22, 2010

Springtime in the Desert

Desert Lily, Hesperocallis undulata, Coyote Canyon, Borrego Desert, California.

There are few things quite as amazing as the incredible burst of life and color in Spring in the Desert. Plants pop out of the sand, seemingly out of nowhere. Butterflies, bees, lizards, caterpillars seemingly everywhere. There is an absolute explosion of life once the rains come down.

Pictured is a large Desert Lily. Most years, they are a little shorter and have perhaps 3 or 4 flowers. As you can see, this Desert Lilly is quite large with 12 flowers in various states of bloom, decay, and bud. The extra growth is at least partly complements of a banner year for rain due to El Nino weather patterns.

The Spanish called the desert lilies Ajo lillies (because they taste like Garlic!). The early Native Americans dug them up for food. The bulbs, however, are way down deep, far from the dessicating desert heat and come up to leaf and bloom in response to the Winter rains and Spring warmth.

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