Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cactus Flower Road Trip

Recently we traveled south in Arizona looking for early bloomers.  We knew the Lupine and Penstemon, Mexican Gold Poppies and acres of Brittlebush would line the roads. We hoped to see Hedgehog Cacti, as well.   They never disappoint especially after a wet winter.

Perhaps I was just ready to see some old, familiar geography around Apache Junction and the nearby Superstiton Wilderness Area.  "Know where I can find a cheap motel," I asked the ancient guy at the Blue Bird Mine and Gift Shop.   Maybe I just wanted to get back to using my camera in the backcountry.  We were looking for cactus flowers but we'd take whatever we found.
What we found were numerous hedgehog cactus flowers (some of the first to emerge) but also a menagerie of wildflowers along the back roads.
Often you find globe mallow growing along roadsides....but the flowers are usually orange. This Spring, however, they came in a variety of colors ranging from white to violet to orange and a brick red.
We knew the globe mallows came in a variety of colors...but red?  The bees didn't seem to mind,  however, and pursued their pollinating with enthusiasm. 
All of which means little.  Even though Apache Junction has quadrupled in population and developed into a bedroom community of Phoenix, the flowers and bees are the same and keep company with the same Blue Bird Mine and Gift Shop.

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