The arid, hot landscape of the desert, be it in the American Southwest, in Central America or Australia, is a fascinating environment that produces a magical range of native plants. Plants in the desert often have an exotic, almost alien appearance, thanks to the adaptations they have made in order to survive the harsh desert climate.
Arizona poppy (Kallstroemia grandiflora) is an herbaceous annual that produces bright orange, cup shaped flowers similar in appearance to the California poppy. Though the flower has no discernible fragrance, the plant attracts butterflies and bees in droves. Also sometimes called "summer poppy," the plant blooms in mid summer and well into autumn. Arizona poppies can be found in sandy grasslands throughout the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts and into Mexico.
Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus) is a large, cylindrical cactus that reaches an average height of between 5 and 10 feet. The cactus is one of the largest cacti species in North America, growing throughout the American Southwest and down into Central Mexico. Barrel cactus produces a lovely crown of flowers in late spring to mid summer, often with yellow or bright red coloring. The fruits of the plant are rarely eaten, but the pulp of the cactus is the primary ingredient in cactus candy. Barrel cactus can be found in the wild growing on desert washes and slopes, as well as along canyon walls.
Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata) is a low growing shrub with grayish, hairy foliage and striking yellow blooms. Desert marigold is a popular ornamental plant for its drought tolerance and long-lasting blooming time, which can go from April until November. The plant grows throughout the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, as well as Mexico. Desert marigold prefers full sunlight and sandy soils, often growing on sandy plains and mesas. When the plant finishes flowering, the seeds attract birds such as the black-throated-sparrow.