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What's Blooming Now: May 2008

As summer approaches and the little moisture we got during this winter’s rainshowers completely dries up, the native desert plants go about their late spring business. A walk around my yard with my camera yielded these photographs of what’s blooming now.

First up, some prickly pear cactus flowers. This is an Engelmann’s Prickly Pear in our backyard, which displays yellow flowers each spring. These are the same cacti we harvest for young prickly pear pads this time of year. They’re great on the grill.


We also have a purple prickly pear cacti in the side yard. Its flowers are similar, but generally brighter in color — almost neon, in fact.

I’m not sure of the identity of this one. It’s a wildflower that’s growing alongside our driveway and in various other parts of the unlandscaped portion of our property. I believe that it’s a paperflower, but I could be wrong. (If anyone knows for sure, use the Comments link or form for this article to let us know.)


This desert willow took root in our side yard some years ago and grew like a weed. As you can see, it gets very dramatic pink flowers — the entire tree is covered with them right now. It flowers twice a year and makes long seed pods filled with hundreds of seeds. The tree loses all of its leaves in the coldest winter months and is pretty messy, so a lot of people avoid them. Me, I wish my yard was full of them.


Palo verde is also blooming throughout Wickenburg right now. (It bloomed at lower elevations 2 to 4 weeks ago.)


For another look at the palo verde in bloom, check out this photo I took of the high school last week. All the yellow you see in the trees are palo verde flowers. Nice, huh?


Got photos of what’s in bloom now in Wickenburg? Why not share them with us. Use the Contact Us link at the top of any page to contact the Webmaster. She’ll send you an e-mail address when you can forward your pictures and the captions to go with them.

Last 5 posts by Maria Langer

3 comments to What's Blooming Now: May 2008

  • Allan Hall

    The 3rd photo is Brittlebush. With a modest amount of periodic watering, you can keep them blooming from early spring well into late fall. I have several Brittlebush spots on my property that I water every two or three weeks to maintain growth and blooming. If you allow them to continue growing, each bush can easily exceed two feet in diameter and height and will provide nice color long after other native plants have ceased!

    During late winter or very early spring, you need to trim them to just a few inches above the ground. This will promote even thicker growth and more flowers.

  • No, I don’t think it’s brittlebush. I have some of that in my yard and the flowers are different. They stand up on stalks away from the leaves. And yes, brittlebush does stay alive if given a little water. We’ve been maintaining our bushes for years!

    This plant is not quite as beefy as brittlebush. Both the flowers and the leaves are more fragile. Plants of Arizona pointed me to the paperflower, but again, I’m not 100% convinced.

  • Allan Hall

    We use the same book!
    After taking acloser look, I believe you are correct that it is a Paperflower; although most likely the “Cooper’s” Paperflower. It grows at elevations as low as 2000 feet, while the other type ranges from 4000 to 7500 feet.