Desert Botanical Garden, December 2016 (part 2 of 3)

Part 1     ↔     Part 3

In part 1 of my post about the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) in Phoenix, Arizona I showed you the Entry Garden, the Desert Terrace Garden and the Desert Portal (click here for a map). This post will cover the Cactus and Succulent Galleries, the Agave Yucca Forest and the connecting sections in between. Part 3 will cover the Webster Center and Ullman Terrace, the Heritage Garden, and the Center for Desert Living Trail.

I visited on Tuesday, December 27, 2016, and by 11 a.m. I was wishing I had left my hoodie in the car. By mid-afternoon, temperatures had climbed into the low 70s. That's why I love winter in the Arizona desert!

One of my favorite places to sit in the DBG. Behind it is a  toothpick cactus (Stetsonia coryne)

Palo blanco (Mariousousa willardiana) and Agave shawii

Agave shawii, one of the few agaves that form a trunk, albeit a creeping one in this case

Cactus wonderland

The perfect water feature for a desert garden

Now we're in the Cactus and Succulent Galleries:

Diamond cholla (Cylindropuntia ramossima) and totem pole cactus (Lophocereus schottii f. monstrosus)

Barrel cactus with erratic growth in the Cactus and Succulent Galleries

Cactus and Succulent Galleries

Yes, the cactus is beautiful (whatever it is), but the rocks are just as spectacular

Opuntia macrocentra

Agave titanota (on the right with Agave desmettiana 'Joe Hoak')

Aloidendron 'Hercules' (left) and Aloidendron barberae (right), one of  the parents of  'Hercules' (the other is Aloidendron dichotomum)

Aloidendron barberae flowers

Aloidendron 'Hercules' trunk

Another great place to sit

Euphorbia fusca

Deuterocohnia brevifolia, a terrestrial bromeliad native to Argentina and Bolivia where it often forms massive clumps

Deuterocohnia brevifolia; the dead spots in the middle are not uncommon

One of thousands of Opuntia at the DBG

One of my current aloe crushes, Aloe dhufarensis

Aloidendron dichotomum, easy to recognize by its yellow flowers

I have no clue which aloe species this is, but it's very attractive

Aloe aculeata

Between the Cactus and Succulent Galleries and the Desert Research and Horticulture Center is a small agave garden packed with many uncommon (and some common) species. If you're interested in the agaves growing at the DBG, check out my detailed two-part post from 2015.

Agave fourcroydes 

Agave victoria-reginae
Agave victoria-reginae

Still labeled Agave victoria-reginae, but it looks more like Agave nickelsiae to me

Check out the caterpillar-like inflorescence emerging from this agave (unfortunately, I didn't write down the species)

Agave zebra

Agave promontorii, a species from Baja California

This is the form of Agave zebra I really want!

A stone's throw away from this spot is the Berlin Agave Yucca Forest:

Agave parryi, possibly var. couesii

Agave ovatifolia

You could call it the "Blue Garden"

Yucca rostrata standing guard over this trio of Agave ovatifolia

Agave parryi

Agave parryi

More agaves growing along the paths criss-crossing the DBG:

Agave guadalajarana

Agave chazaroi

Agave colorata
And cactus everywhere you look:

Opuntia ×rooneyi, a hybrid between Opuntia aureispina and Opuntia macrocentra

Cute little Aloidendron dichotomum

Aloidendron dichotomum flowers

Aloidendron 'Hercules' growing outside the Webster Center

Lots more to come in part 3!



  1. Your posts always identify agaves I've never even heard of, leading me to ask when some of these might appear in local nurseries. I'm impressed by how well-maintained everything looks at DBG - do they have a leg up on The Huntington in that area, or is a matter of your photo selection process?

    1. Kris, the DBG is pristine. Everything is perfectly maintained, from the plants to the facilities. I think the people of the greater Phoenix area know what a treasure it is and support it accordingly.

  2. Agave/Aloe eye candy--now I'm happy! Yes that particular Agave zebra--ooooooh!

  3. So many beautiful photos, so many beautiful plants! I was particularly enchanted with that metal U-shaped channel/fountain draining into the square pool too. I took so many photos of it trying to capture the right feel. You did a great job!

  4. Hello Gerhard,

    I just spent an enjoyable evening going through your Dec trip to Arizona. Wow! Have had fun exploring your website and reading your blog. I look forward to future posts. Up in Alberta most of these plants are houseplants but fun to see them growing in their more appropriate habitats.


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