Monthly Archives: November 2015


Last Wednesday Ed and I hiked in Molino Basin. We were delighted to see a number of flower species still in bloom. Perhaps the most abundant was Spreading Fleabane (Erigeron divergens). We saw hundreds of these plants in bloom.

Erigeron divergens 1 Nov

There was also quite a few Gymnosperma plants in flower (Gymnosperma glutinosum). This is a plant that blooms almost any time of the year but seemed particularly plentiful today.

Gymnosperma glutinosum 1 fall

Then there was the Narrow-leaf Aster (dieteria asteroides), with its beautiful bluish-purple flowers.

Dieteria asteroides 1fall

Much to our surprise we found a Tufted Evening Primrose in bloom (Oenothera caespitosa). We normally see these flowers from March to July. Since it is an evening bloomer the flowers usually close by about 9 or 10 in the morning. We only saw one on this walk, around noon the day before American Thanksgiving. What a beauty.

Oenothera caespitosa FL

The Squaw Bush (Rhus aromatica ver. Trilobata) was not in flower but it called out to us with its fall coloring and red fruit.
Rhus aromatica fall
Our plant walk that day was greatly enriched by the people we met on the trail, a couple from Montana, and family from Long Island, New York to mention just a few of them.

Today I walked with another friend on the Finger Rock trail.  Our bird bath was frozen solid last night, but later in the morning the warm sun made us quite comfortable as we made our way up the trail. People were coming and going with smiling faces. There were a few species in bloom, notably Leadwort (Plumbago zeylanica), with its beautiful tubular white flowers and copper-colored fall leaves.
Leadwort 2

We also saw lots of seedlings promising a glorious spring.

More Invisible Flowers

We are now toward the end of November and there are still plenty of flowers to see, some of them new to me this year. Here are three recent ones: A climbing milkweed with small, pale yellow flowers called Arizona swallow-wort (Metastelma arizonicum). Ed and I found it on the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail in Saguaro National Park East.

Metastelma arizonicum 3 TUS The Arizona Swallow-wort covering another plant

Metastelma arizonicum 5 TUS The penny gives an idea of how small the flowers are. The fruit is much bigger.

Metastelma arizonicum 7 TUS
A flower bud and an opened flower.
About a week later we were on the Garwood Trail and saw a beautiful pink patch. The plants looked like they belong to the buckwheat family. We were hiking in a loop and I was sure we would see more of the same plant later, but that was not to be. When we couldn’t find any, we turned back to this patch and I got a few photographs. I did not have my super close up camera with me, so I returned that same afternoon with it, and got some pictures of the flowers. It turned out to be Palmer’s Buckwheat, Eriogonum palmerianum.

Eriogonum palmerianum 1 TUS A patch of the Palmer’s Bucwheat

Eriogonum palmerianum 3c TUS An individual plant, the penny giving scale.

Eriogonum palmerianum 7b TUS An individual flower

I was about to leave the area when I saw a plant I had never noticed before, lying flat on the ground. This was a member of the Euphorbia family (New Mexico Silverbush, Argythamnia neomexicana), and I was happy to get some pictures.

Argythamnia neomexicana 3 TUS The New Mexico Silverbush plant lying on the  ground. Below is a picture of an individual flower. These are quite small.

 Argythamnia neomexicana 7 TUS

This means that in two weeks in the middle of November we had found three more “invisible flowers” to add to my growing collection.

On my last posting I noted that one of our Golden Barrel cactuses (Echinocactus grusonii, a Mexican species) that had been hollowed out from the inside by some animal, had some new growths. Today I took these pictures to show that the growths are “pups”, or new plants. So this cactus that was almost completely hollowed out and had every reason to die a year and a half ago, is producing lots of new life. It looks like we will have eighteen new plants in the spring when I cut them off and  plant them out on their own.

Golden Barrell pups The gouged out Golden Barrel showing some of the 18 pups that are developing. Below a closeup of one of them.

Golden Barrell pup