At a glance, the Chihuahuan desert does look barren but up close it is beautiful!
Our cactus education was inspiring and began in a cactus greenhouse just outside Fort Davis. The greenhouse housed over 150 types of cacti!! A remarkable sight!
While on desert trails, we identified (with the help of our cactus identification book)
· The Glory of Texas (a barrel cactus)
· Englemann's Prickly Pear (yellow flowers)
· Plains Prickly Pear
· Spiny Strawberry Hedgehog (blooming everywhere)
· Red Claret hedgehog
· Blind pear (no thorns)
· Santa Rita prickly pear (purple)
Look hard and the variety is plentiful and the colors beautiful.
There is more than cacti in the desert! We learned that agave, yucca, and ocotillo are not cacti!
The agave plant (aka Century Plant) blooms once and dies, having spent all its energy on the bloom. (We only saw dead ones.)
Most yuccas had already bloomed but we did see a few in bloom. Yuccas were very plentiful.
Ocotillo normally have no leaves. However, after a rain, small leaves emerge as do red flowers and fruit.
There are many flowering desert plants, most with small flowers. Observe carefully to see the beauty that lies before you!! It was quite an experience.
Henry H. Lowndes, Jr.