April 2020 Newsletter

Palms in Habitat – Washintonia filifera in Arizona

Before this year, I had never been to the desert. Being a palm guy, I eagerly said yes to a trip with Larry Noblick to see our native Washintonia filifera in its desert habitat. I was also interested to see what the desert was all about. Besides a few cliché assumptions about deserts, I had no idea what to expect.

Photo of desert tophography

TSaguaro cacti sur-round the desert site of Castle Hot Springs. (all photos by Andy Hurwitz)

Of the three collection locations, Castle Hot Springs, Arizona was our last stop. We headed out early on a cold morning. It’s about 40 miles from Phoenix with the last seven or so being unpaved. I couldn’t help but take in the cleanliness of the desert; with so little water, there are no weeds to speak of – re-placed by a menagerie of different types of stones and rocks that blended together to form a unique reddish color. One could spend all day enjoying the strangely organic shapes of rocky outcrops and have as much fun combing the riverbeds for different rocks as you would shell-hunting on the beach. As alluring as these activities are, Larry and I were here to do something even more exciting – visit an actual Palm Oasis!

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