Ed’s brother, Bob was visiting, so last Wednesday the three of us hiked up Bear Canyon toward Seven Falls. It was a little cool at first, but after a short time we were peeling off layers of clothes and basking in the warmth of the sun. The canyon was bright with the gold color of autumn leaves, including Velvet Ash, Fremont Cottonwood and Bonpland willow. Added to this was the rich orange-brown color of the Arizona Sycamore. There was plenty of water in the creek from snow melt higher up the mountain. Seven falls1

I was particularly conscious of the grasses, noting with some regret, how many of them were not native to this area. We saw lots of  the admittedly beautiful but yet threatening Fountain grass, (which was deliberately introduced into Southern Arizona in the 1940’s). Its near relative, Buffel grass (Pennisetum ciliare), is even more of a problem. Both were in bloom. I couldn’t help noticing the similarities and differences between the foliage of the Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) and the local Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens).

Pennisetum setaceum3




Fountain grass







Muhlenbergia rigens3d


Deer grass




Muhlenbergia rigens6




Close up of Deer grass male flowers







There have been  some heavy rains recently leading to fresh growth. Places along the trail were totally covered with little green seedlings. If we get some more rain early in the New Year, we should have a spectacular display of Spring flowers in just a few months.

SeedlingsA carpet of green seedlings

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