Desert environments have always held a fascination for many, their stark landscapes notwithstanding. At first glance these seemingly-lifeless landscapes are actually home to hardy woody shrubs and succulents with amazing adaptations to survive in harsh desert conditions. In California’s deserts, all this changes when the onset of winter rains bring carpets of brightly colored annuals and flowering shrubs. California Desert Plants celebrates how elevation, climate, and vegetation define the Great Basin, Mojave, and Sonoran deserts in California. What follows is an excerpt from that book.Continue Reading
Plant Life in California’s Deserts
For the past 15 years, Philip Rundel, has been developing this book through his long-term relationship and travels in deserts of the Southwestern United States, northern Chile, and Southern Africa. His vision is now a reality. California Desert Plants: Ecology and Diversity is a new book written by Philip Rundel, Robert Gustafson, and Michael Kauffmann that explores plant life in California’s deserts. Published Backcountry Press, it describes traits and strategies that allow plants to survive in some of world’s harshest environments. In addition to describing major desert habitats, the book includes over 400 photographs to complement the text.
Philip Rundel, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles is a desert ecologist with extensive experience in arid and semi-arid landscapes all around the world. He would be the first to admit that California’s deserts are his favorite—and his new book goes a long way to showing why.Continue Reading
Nature Nerd Protip: Cactus Compass
Never get turned around in the Mojave Desert again. As long as you can find this plant, it will point you south!
Directionality is seen in many cactus species, with our barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) serving as a good example.Continue Reading