Desert Plant Life


Mesquite - this small tree is ubiquitous here.  It is an extremely hardy and drought-tolerant plant.  It grows fast, and it's a refuge for wildlife where other trees won't grow. It is a legume which means it fixes nitrogen in the soil. This improves soil fertility. Bees are attracted to the flowers and mesquite honey is prized. I probably have 30 trees on the Double Barrel Ranch.

Acacia- another small tree that is also common but has a more pleasing shape than a Mesquite. It also is low water use. But it is often liberally protected by thorns. This explains some of the common names such as "catclaw" or "wait-a-minute tree." The flowers are very fragrant though. I have about a dozen Acacia of a couple different varieties.


Creosote Bush - a flowering, evergreen shrub. After a rain, the plant gives off the odor of creosote, which explains the common name. It is often said to perfume the air when it rains in the desert. I like the smell but not everyone does. I have about a million creosote bushes on the Double Barrel Ranch. But actually, they might all be one plant. In California, the "King Clone" creosote ring has been found to be one of the oldest living things on earth, about 11,700 years old. It measures from 45 to 67 feet in diameter. All one plant although the casual observer would swear they are separate. But they are all connected underground!

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