Arizona Upland Sonoran Desertscrub

The Sonoran Desert is named for the state of Sonora Mexico. It is found there and north into central Arizona and southeastern California. This is a warm desert that lacks cold tolerant species. The rainfall peaks in the winter months and during the summer monsoons. Cacti are well-represented and are often the dominant life forms with a few well-know arborescent (tree-like) species such as the saguaro. The Sonoran Desert can be divided into two distinct vegetation types. The Arizona Uplands are characterized by a diverse low shrubland of legume trees and many succulents. Some of the common legume shrubs are Parkinsonia microphyla (foothills paloverde), P. florida (blue paloverde--the state tree of Arizona), Olneya tesota (ironwood), Prosopis glandulosa (mesquite), Acacia greggii (cat-claw acacia), and Calliandra eriophylla (fairy duster). Common cacti include the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii), and numerous chollas (Cylindropuntia bigelovii , C. acanthocarpa, C. fulgida, C. leptocaulis). Only one species of ocotillo, Fouquieria splendens, is found in Arizona but others including the boojum can be found south in Baja California, Mexico.

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