Get the Point?

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While traveling through Joshua Tree National Park, we seen several of these pokey-looking shrubs…

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I wish we could have seen them in dressed out in their brilliant red flowers.  According to here

The Ocotillo is pollinated by hummingbirds that like the honey nectar it produces. They feed on the flowers during their travel north from Mexico to the mountains of the Western US.

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The Ocotillo is abundant in the Southwest because the soil is well-drained on rocky slopes, mesas, out washed plains and desert grasslands. The Ocotillo is deciduous, drought tolerant shrub. From its root crown it grows stems that can be any where from 9 to 30 feet tall. These stems grow in an “S” like pattern making the shrub look like an inverted funnel. The stems are covered with spines that can be 1.5 inches long. The leaves of the shrub are thick and leather like and grow several times in the growing season depending on the amount of rainwater available. The leaves are narrow 2-inch ovals, which can sprout within 3 day of a rainfall. The leaves turn brown and fall off when water is scarce. When the leaves die the stalk and part of the steam become woody and form spines.  The Ocotillo can be leafless for a long time, because the roots are deep and do not get much water.

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Close up of the thorns…

I thought it was also somewhat interesting that Ocotillo could be cultivated…

The plant is easily grown from seed and cuttings and sold as nursery stock. The shrub is often use as “fencing” because its spines stop people and animals from passing through.

Yep, I could see that.

MM3

Macro Monday

The Desert and a Hummingbird

While away on vacation, we had the privilege of  driving through Joshua Tree National Park which is part of the Mohave Desert.  It is vastly different from our area in NW Montana, seeming very desolate and uninhabitable.

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Especially for this little thing…

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We visited the Cottonwood Spring Oasis, where there were not only several Fan Palm trees but as the name suggest a couple of Cottonwood trees.

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We were very pleasantly surprised to see this little hummingbird perched on this thorny bush.  I believe it is a female

BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD Archilochus alexandri  but could be wrong.  😉

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Linking to

Alphabe-Thursday Letter H
Wild Bird Wednesday
Nature Notes