National Parks

National Parks26 Sep 2015 01:49 pm

Big Bend Cacti and Agave

National Parks&Travel20 Sep 2015 08:06 am


Fouquieria splendens

Big Bend National Park

National Parks&News08 Jun 2015 07:11 am

People think that because cactus and succulents may come from a desert that they can handle the California drought. But it’s a record drought! Even desert plants need some water. For instance, the Joshua Trees…


LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the California desert, Joshua tree seedlings are shriveling up and dying before they get the chance to put down strong roots, and ecologist Cameron Barrows wants the details.

The University of California, Riverside scientist knows that hot weather and lack of rainwater hurt the iconic species…

Cactus&National Parks05 Feb 2015 03:57 pm


Genn sends a photo from the Arizona desert. And it’s a crested Saguaro!

National Parks&San Francisco30 Sep 2014 04:30 pm


Aeoniums in Golden Gate Park

National Parks&News&Travel21 Jan 2014 12:13 pm


Although it’s not the largest saguaro ever discovered, the colossal specimen along the Dutchman’s Trail in the Superstition Wilderness is a commanding presence. Balancing a massive, Medusa-like crown of spiny arms and isolated in a landscape where neighboring saguaros sport more modest profiles, this impressive plant grabs the spotlight.

But, it might not stand for much longer. An ominous gray scale on its north side and what appears to be a lightning strike in its core may spell its doom…

And then there’s the whole location and hike and map and description information so you too can go and see this mountainous cactus before its gone.

The hike begins at the Peralta Trailhead on Bluff Spring Trail…

National Parks&News06 Jan 2014 03:42 pm

In Arizona they are saving the Saguaros one RFID tag at a time.

(S)eeing saguaros disappear from federal lands, Saguaro National Park came up with a modern solution: radio frequency chips.

With the territory so vast and little chance of catching thieves in the act, land managers insert tiny chips into cactus bodies so they can track them down if stolen.

“We’ve literally chipped hundreds of saguaros we think are in at-risk areas — the size and location that could put them at a high risk of being poached,” said Paul Austin, chief ranger at Saguaro National Park, who said cactus poaching has declined since chipping began about five years ago.

Saguaros are Carnegiea gigantea of course. Named for the Robber Baron Carnegie, they are the only plant in the genus and no one has the courage to move it to another genus of plants to which they are closely related. Of course, most botanists would refer to Andrew Carnegie as a Philanthropist, which might be why they’ve kept the name.

National Parks&Science02 Oct 2013 10:44 am

Citing everything from grazing to insects, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday granted endangered species protection to two cacti found in Arizona.

The Acuña cactus, found in Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties, is one of two Arizona cacti granted endangered species protection Monday….

These plants, the Acuña cactus and the Fickeisen plains cactus, are the latest two to go through the process and be put on the endangered list.

That is one pretty plant which is the main criteria the government uses for determining what species get protected. I would protect that! The Acuña Cactus (Echinomastus erectocentrus var. acunensis), also known as the Pineapple Cactus, is found in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico.

The Fickeisen plains cactus (Pediocactus peeblesianus fickeiseniae), also known as the Navajo Pincushion Cactus, is tiny and also cute and also worthy of protection in my aesthetic opinion.


If a cactus can be “cute,” the Fickeisen plains cactus qualifies. “Cactophiles” are smitten by this petite plant with cream-colored flowers. Unfortunately, illegal collection by enthusiasts and commercial cactus dealers has contributed to the decline of many species in the genus Pediocactus.

National Parks13 Apr 2013 02:30 pm

I see that a major corporation has decided to use a cactus flower.


The flower shown is Echinocereus triglochidiatus which is actually found in the Grand Canyon. Do you think they actually extracted a scent from this particular plant from this particular location? We’ll never know for sure, but at least they got their marketing materials correct.

National Parks04 Mar 2013 06:49 am

Beautiful striped bromeliads among the orchids high up in the jungle canopy of a Kapok tree, from National Geographic’s Photo of the Day.

yasuni ecuador winter

Yasuní National Park, Ecuador

Photograph by Steve Winter, National Geographic

From the bromeliads, ferns, and orchids that cover a kapok tree 160 feet above the forest floor to the jaguars that prowl below, Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park is home to countless plant and animal species.

Click through for the full picture.

National Parks&Photography14 Nov 2012 05:00 pm

Hanging off the side of a cliff! Nestled in a rock!


Ferocactus cylindriceus, also known as F. acanthodes or California Barrel Cactus or even Miner’s Compass (because it always leans to the South.)


In case you were wondering, I also had to climb up the cliff to get that picture. No tricks were involved.

And next to it was this cute little baby cactus! Also growing in rock.


National Parks10 Nov 2012 08:35 am

“Jim makes friends with just anyone!” according to Aunt Rachel

National Parks&News29 Oct 2012 09:19 am

It’s been a decade since the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to have this cactus listed.


Acuna cactus at Organ Pipe National Monument. Courtesy National Park Service

Tony Davis Arizona Daily Star

A small, little-known cactus found in Organ Pipe National Monument west of Tucson faces a “high and immediate” threat of extinction, says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in proposing to protect it as an endangered species.

The Acuña cactus, topping out at about a foot high, is declining fast, having dropped in numbers by more than 50 percent since 1981, the service said….

The service also proposes to designate 53,720 acres, including 29,500 acres of federal land and 14,266 acres of state land, as critical habitat for the Acuña cactus.

That is one very cute little endangered cactus. Cuteness is not the only factor the government considers when reviewing petitions for listing of species, but it doesn’t hurt.

National Parks12 Oct 2012 06:58 am

While it’s true that you can tend to dig up cacti and move them, this is not going to go as well as the article suggests.

Prickly Job Ahead At Joshua Tree National Park
Upwards of 800 cholla cactus plants will be dug up to be returned to the area near the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park after a road-straightening project is completed.

Kurt Repanshek photo.

This is one thorny job.

So first of all, moving the larger plants will cause a lot of them to lose branches. They do come off rather easily, so a large plant will ennd up being a small plant by the time its put back.

Secondly, this is being done in winter when these chollas will be dormant. There will be a lot of root loss, and a lot of the plants won’t come back after that.

California Native Plants&National Parks05 Jul 2012 12:10 pm

Interesting! Someone has found a Ferocactus cylindriceus, aka a California Barrel cactus, in Joshua Tree ie in California where they are normally found, and documented it.

Project Noah


National Parks21 Apr 2012 05:57 am

Fenway Park turned 100 yesterday. For those who stop by the nursery regularly you know I often wear a Red Sox hat which wears out after a few years. So off to Fenway to get a new hat. This one Celtics green.


That was Thursday. Here’s from 100 years ago.


(via TPM) Nice!

National Parks&News03 May 2011 07:15 am

Exciting news in the world of national park cacti!

A crew surveying plants at Saguaro National Park west of Tucson has made a “shocking” discovery: a mature organ-pipe cactus growing among the saguaros….

The find is significant because the big cacti – with arms somewhat resembling organ pipes – are almost completely limited in this country to warm, low-elevation deserts at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument south of Ajo….

Hubbard said a crew from the monitoring network, which is a part of the National Park Service, found the Saguaro Park specimen in February in a “sort of protected micro-site.”

The plant is big, but clearly not in its ideal environment. You can see the really pronounced yearly variations in width and the most recent growth is not looking healthy, probably a very cold couple of winters.

National Parks14 Apr 2011 11:26 am

From the Desert Wildflower Report, we find there are Beavertails in bloom as reported by Rick and Margarita in “Lake Mead NRA between mileposts 7 & 8.”

Opuntia basilaris

Very vibrant colors.

I wonder what the mountains in the background are called? Do you think they’re called the Spotted French Peaks?

National Parks30 Mar 2011 09:19 am

It’s finally spring here.

And in the deserts of California too. From Desert-USA down in Anza-Borrego.

National Parks23 Sep 2010 08:31 am

We walked around the park with my parents in town visiting. Crissy Field, Civil War houses, Goldsworthy Spire.

And Yoda, as recommended by Far Out Flora.

I didn’t get a very good shot of the fountain with my phone, so I made it “artistic” in photoshop instead.

An “artisitic” shot of the Spire after the break. (more…)

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