Desert blooms with color

TWENTYNINE PALMS - There are lots of plants and vegetation to see in the Hi-Desert region. Most people do not know their names and classify the flora simply as trees, shrubs, cacti, weeds and flowers.

They actually have names and most are well suited for the desert area.

For instance, there is the ocotillo. It has clusters of long, skinny, thorn-covered stems. Commonly, it will grow up to 12 feet high.

Most of the year the ocotillo appears brown, leafless and dead. Within a few days after rain, however, it spouts thousands of small leaves. When in bloom, the ocotillo brightens the landscape with red tubular blossoms at the end of each stem.

The many members of the cactus family are also well known for the ability to conserve water, storing it in fleshy stems, remaining healthy between rains. In bloom, these desert dwellers promote beautiful flowers among their sharp prickers and spines.

Rainy winters and mild spring temperatures help create a spectacular wildflower display during the early summer months each year. Thousands of these annual wildflowers can speckle the desert area with their varied colors.

Sandy soils promote the growth of purplish-pink sand verbena and the white dune primrose.

The bluish-purple Canterbury bells sprout from the areas' rocky hillsides. Yellow colors paint the desert scene by the thick, daisy-like brittlebush flowers and the carpets of desert dandelions.

Mariposa lilies adorn stony soil areas with this brilliant orange petals.

Sacred datura, with their large white trumpet blossoms grace the roadsides along with the orange, cup-shaped blossoms of the globemallow.

Lavender Mojave aster, the white desert lily, the pink five-spot, purple phacelia, and the scarlet locoweed are other wildflowers that decorate our southwestern desert region.

Stop by the Joshua Tree National Park Visitors Center or the Twentynine Palms Branch Library to become more aware of the plant life that surrounds the desert population and its habitats.

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