Chihuahuan Desert Seeing Green

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Candellia - a member of the Euphorbia family

Candellia - a member of the Euphorbia family

The summer rains have certainly greened up the Chihuahuan Desert here in the Big Bend of Texas. Lush vegetation blankets the desert floor and is spotted with the brilliant flowers such as Baileya multiradiata (Desert Marigold) and Commelina (Dayflower or Widow’s Tears). The prickly pear is boasting their fat fruit, called tunas, as a second wave of cacti blooms went through the yard at Desert Sports just last week.

The humidity and soil moisture has triggered the Cenizo, also known as Barometer Bush or Texas Sage, to bloom. Often the flowers are a shade of purple, but there is a white version behind the shop. Candellia, a Euphorbiaceae family member, seems to be the plant of the year, as the slender clump of waxed stalks are covered in tiny blooms.

While the birds are getting the fledgings out of the nest and some are starting on a second brood, more green is pushing through the ground surface. Young leaves that are opposite and pinnately compound announce the orange of caltrops to be seen in August. Looks like the rains will continue and bring water to the Rio Grande where the Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) wave their welcome with leaf-drenched branches.

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