The flora and fauna of the Southwest can be quite exquisite in its beauty. Although we may not have an abundance of deciduous trees, the desert offers up her own rare beauty in the native plants found growing in our yards, washes and even the medians of our city streets. Here is a list of the top three native plants that most homeowner’s will want to add to their landscape when working toward a desert-themed landscape.
The Teddybear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii) may sound like a cute snuggly plant but – beware! This is actually a miniature tree with densely covered golden “prickly and painful” spines making it a respected cactus of the desert. The flowers are a beautiful green or yellow with lavender streaks. A more apt name may have been Prickly Cholla, but that name was already taken by the Prickly Pear Cactus.
The Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia ficus indica) is native to the Southwest and has played an important part in the Mexican-American diet and culture. It has medicinal effects for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and even used to fight viral infections. A truly indigenous landscape design would not be complete without this hardy cactus. There are many native species to choose from with the paddles ranging from blue’s to green’s, and flower color variations of yellow, rust, red or purple. Once these cacti are established in your landscaping, they require no additional watering other than what Mother Nature provides on her own. They don’t do well with excess watering and on those 3 winter nights every year when we have a frost warning here in the desert, you will want to cover them up.
Did you know? You can purchase prickly pear candies and jellies in the local novelty shops in Scottsdale, making a great gift to send to relatives.
The Blue Palo Verde (Parkinsonia florida) is a welcome addition to most anyone’s yard in Arizona for its beautiful bright yellow flowers. The trunk of the tree is squat and has a blue-green hue, the twigs and pods of the Palo Verde serve as a food source for birds and little critters. You just may have tasted the distinct flavor of the Palo Verde in local honey since its flower is prolific and attracts a plethora of bees. It is leafless for most of the year but best not planted next to the pool since you don’t want the pods that mature in the summer to be dropping into the pool cleaning hardware. When you are out on a drive you typically see the Blue Palo Verde in the natural washes of the desert.
Looking for Arizona golf homes for sale? Reach out to me at 480-405-4228 or fill out the contact form below to set up an appointment to view properties.
Realtor | Founder
The Matheson Team – RE/MAX Fine Properties
21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
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