Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, XVI

Late May 2020

I pass this Agave every day, but I first noticed the spike on last Wednesday (May 20). Buds lined the spike. When I passed by it on Thursday afternoon, the flowers were spent, and seed capsules were swelling. It probably flowered at night. It’s not unusual for desert flowers to bloom one day or night and then go to seed. In this case, the blooming was not staggered over a number of days. Instead, all the buds opened at the same time:

Close-up of the towering spike. Notice the seed capsules and spent flowers:

Another Agave. Its flowers are spent. I hadn’t walked down this street for awhile:

A Cereus cactus:

Close-up of its flowers:

I want to call this a Hedgehog cactus:

Close-up of its flowers:

Red Yucca. Many of its flowers have given way to seed capsules:

Barrel Cactus

Mid-May 2020

These are three species, A, B, and C. B goes by several names. C is a Golden Barrel cactus. I’ve posted both of these for comparison with A.

Only cactus A is flowering right now. It also resembles a barrel like B and C. Other species in the Ferocactus family flower during the summer, though. What is this cactus’s name? I haven’t found a picture of it yet, and the Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix is closed because of the COVID-19 virus.

A:

B (below):

Wikipedia calls this a Fishhook Barrel cactus — species name Ferocactus wislizeni. The entry Compass Barrel cactus redirects to Ferocactus wislizeni. Its spines resemble fishhooks. The University of California at Berkley also calls this a Compass Barrel.

Other names for it are Candy Barrel, Southwestern Barrel, and Arizona Barrel cactus —

C — Golden Barrel cactus (below):

Its growth habit reminds one of a barrel. Thorns have a yellow cast, especially the new ones. The spent flowers have been on the plant since last year. Cottony clumps show where new flowers will blossom. It’s native to Mexico, but it grows well in Phoenix landscaping —

The majestic Saguaro

Mid-May 2020

Flowers of the Saguaro (SWAH roh) cactus:

Flowers of the Saguaro blossom at the tip of the plant:

Birds perching at the plant’s top. Perhaps they are feeding on flies that feed on the flowers’ nectar:

The fourth-quarter moon appears framed by two Saguaros (or is it called the half moon? There was a quarter of the lunar month left.):

Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, XV

Mid-May 2020

I don’t yet know the name of this cactus. When it drops its leaves in the Fall, it looks like dead sticks with thorns:

A close-up:

I don’t yet know the name of this flowering shrub either:

A close-up of its flowers:

This could be an ornamental cactus that is not native to the region:

A close-up of its flowers:

This wildflower looks like it could be in the pea family:

Spring Blossoms in Phoenix, Arizona, XII

Early May 2020

Fishhook Barrel Cactus, also known as a Compass Barrel. They tend to lean southward toward the sun. The thorns could remind someone of fishhooks:

Last year’s flowers have given way to fruit, which I call pineapples. Fruit often stays on the plant for more than a year. The fruit looks like yellow plastic hand grenades:

I don’t yet know the name of this flowering tree. It started leafing out several weeks before this picture, after being bare all winter:

Closeup of the feathery flowers:

An Oleander hedge. This sturdy shrub can reach the size of small trees:

Close-up of Oleander flowers:

Oleanders are often sheared or pruned much lower and more compact: