Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Superior, AZ)—Part 2

In Part 1 of my post about Boyce Thompson Arboretum I showed you the Curandero Trail, the Demonstration Garden, and the Australian Desert. Now it’s time to explore the Cactus and Succulent Garden. As you will see in the photos below, this is a spectacular wonderland of desert flora from the Southwest, Mexico, Central and South America. I visited on a Thursday morning and virtually had the entire Arboretum to myself. Truly one of the most memorable experiences of my Arizona trip!

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Cactus Garden panorama

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South American cacti

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South American cacti

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South American cacti

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LEFT: Opuntia engelmannii var. cuija   RIGHT: Stetsonia coryne

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View of Picketpost Mountain from Cactus Garden

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Agave toumeyana

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Endless wonders…

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…wherever you look

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One of countless beautiful agaves; this one sadly was without a label

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Picketpost Mountain…

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…and a wonderland of cacti

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Saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea)…

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…and prickly pears (Opuntia sp.)

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Agave palmeri

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Agave salmiana, the main source of pulque

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Blue barrel (Ferocactus glaucescens)

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Agave americana

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This narrow path was one of my favorite spots in the Cactus Garden.
LEFT: Ferocactus pilosus and Ferocactus histrix

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Ferocactus histrix

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Agave lophantha

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Agave americana and Opuntia rufida

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Agave salmiana with flower spike

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Echinocactus platyacanthus. The Spanish word “biznaga” refers to pretty much any barrel cactus, much like “maguey” refers to virtually any agave.

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Golden barrel cacti (Echinocactus grusonii)

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I saw so many golden barrel cacti on my trip that I should have gotten sick of them, but I never did—they’re just too beautiful

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Yes, more golden barrels

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Agave weberi and an unsually red columnar cactus

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More Agave weberi (interesting coincidence: the organic agave syrup we eat on pancakes and waffles is made from Agave weberi)

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One of my favorite combinations: Opuntia macrocentra and Agave gracilipes

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Agave gracilipes, the slim-foot agave, one of the big discoveries of this trip. Sadly, it’s virtually impossible to find in nurseries or online.

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Another view of Picketpost Mountain

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Another Agave palmeri. Agave palmeri is native to Arizona and New Mexico. In fact, we saw lots of them in the summer of 2012 along Interstate 10.

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The only Agave havardiana I saw on my trip. I was looking far and wide for a mature specimen, but this is the biggest I was able to find. Native to New Mexico and Texas, Agave havardiana, a close relative of the Agave parryi complex, is hardy to –20°F, which makes it one the hardiest agaves out there. I bought a small plant at Santa Fe Greenhouses during our summer 2012 trip and will plant it out at my in-laws in Mount Shasta (zone 7a) this year.

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More Agave salmiana

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Agave ocachui, a sadly underused species. It has a beautiful symmetrical rosette and should be much more popular than it is. I don’t even have one in my own collection!

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This is one of the strangest plant discoveries of my entire trip. It’s an octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana) pup growing in a rock crevice that cannot possible contain much soil. I have no idea if it ended up there naturally (I saw no other Agave vilmoriana nearby) or—more likely—if it was “planted” there.

Part 3 of this post will complete my exploration of the Cactus and Succulent Garden. There is more more to see!

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6 comments:

  1. The only other thing that competes with the beauty of the plants is the spectacular backdrop! Roll on part 3!

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    1. I wish I'd had more time to explore the backcountry. There was a trail going up into the mountains, I believe. Next time!

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  2. Heaven on earth! Well, for spike lovers. Can't wait for the next installment...

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    Replies
    1. If you lived there, I wonder if you'd end up taking it all for granted...

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  3. I love the wide shots -- what scenery!

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