Summer bloom

The foresummer has arrived, bringing hot and dry conditions to the desert. Despite the adverse conditions, many species are moving through the reproductive stage of their life cycles.

Saguaro cacti are in full bloom – the flowers are especially beautiful at dawn and dusk. This year’s weather has been very favorable, with dozens of flowers on most mature individuals. Soon we will have a surplus of fruits for saguaro wine!

Agaves are also coming into bloom. These species are monocarpic, meaning that they flower once, set seed, and then die. Dozens of years of stored resources are invested in a single flowering stalk that can reach twenty feet in height. Fortunately many individuals are blooming this year, so the chance of successful reproduction is high. Even though individual plants may not be close by, we know from tagging studies that some pollinators (even moths) will fly multiple kilometers between plants in a single night!

Soon the summer monsoon rains will arrive, and a whole new set of plants will come to life – but for now, we can appreciate the stark beauty of these few hardy foresummer bloomers!

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