Parks & Gardens

Plants You May Come Across in Arizona Desert

Just imagine: you are driving through the desert, your hair flowing in the wind. There is nothing around except vast areas of dry land and the endless straight highway going beyond the horizon. Wouldn’t it be nice to shut off the engine and savor the moment of stillness, peace, and complete unity with nature? Wouldn’t it be nice to feast your eyes upon the hardy Arizona flora, brave enough to live in such harsh conditions?

If this is exactly what you call an ideal holiday, then this list of Arizona plants is for you. Next time you are in Arizona, look around and try to find at least one of them.

Yucca elata

You can recognize this plant by white drooping bell-shaped flowers clustered on a long stalk. These flowers are good to eat both raw and cooked. The roots of this plant are a source of toxic saponins, which makes it suitable for soap production.

Simmondsia chinensis

Simmondsia chinensis, or jojoba, is a perennial shrub with small greenish-yellow flowers. Jojoba female plants produce capsules that contain oily wax used to manufacture cosmetic products.

Opuntia engelmannii

Another plant you may encounter when walking around Arizona is Opuntia engelmannii, or the cactus apple. It is a shrubby cactus with yellow glochids and yellow to reddish flowers. This plant’s juicy sweet fruits are a favorite Native Americans’ delicacy and are used to make juice, syrup, and cactus candy.

Erythrina flabelliformis

This plant, commonly referred to as the coralbean, is a tree or a shrub with long, tubular flowers, which are followed by brown pods with bright beans. But don’t let this plant fool you. Though attractive, these beans are highly toxic.

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis is often called the desert willow, although it bears virtually no resemblance to willows. It’s a tall shrub with showy tubular flowers and green narrow untoothed leaves. The plant has a light fragrance and attracts large butterflies and hummingbirds.

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