Tuesday, March 2, 2010

False Spring...

The temperature was tickling 70F today (21C), but looking through the neighborhood still shows little signs of Spring except all the weeds in the yard from the winter rains. The lush green growth of one of our most spectacular desert plants, the Ocotillo is similarly, not a sign of Springtime temperatures, but rather from the abundance of rain. Normally appearing like dead-looking sticks sprouting from a common point, they will leaf out immediately after a rainfall, then, if no rain is forthcoming in a week or two, the plant will drop the leaves to prevent water loss from transpiration. The cycle will recur whenever rain appears. When Spring really comes, the tips are covered with clusters of orangish-red flowers. I'll have to keep an eye out and document that for you. Do note in the closeup however, that buried in the leaves are some very sharp spines to keep away animals that might be tempted to eat the greenery. Also note that the ocotillo is NOT a cactus! Check out the Wikipedia link above for more pics and info.

Spring for us will have to wait a bit, as tomorrow we head off to the Midwest for a taste of the remaining Winter and the warm glow of family for a few days. The kitties will be left in the capable hands of their regular house sitter, while we blog about exciting (for us!) snow scenes. I know our friends and family there are ready for Winter to be over, though we'd be glad to be blamed for bringing higher temps with us if it happens!

1 comment:

Eric J. Anderson said...

That reminds me of the driver on the Sabino Canyon tram many years ago informing the folks, "The ocotillo is not a cactus, it is a plant!"

I couldn't resist responding with, "What, like a cactus isn't a plant?"

She'd have done better informing folks that there are only eight members in the ocotillo family, including the lurid boojums of Baja California.

FYI, the news said last year's high temperature on March 2nd was 93F (34C). What a difference a year makes.