When winter above 5,000 feet in Northern Arizona became uncomfortable, we took a road trip south to a favorite sanctuary down on the Mexican border: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The Monument has been designated a "Biosphere Reserve" by the United Nations ... but even within its desert boundaries, life and death struggles play out ... often slowly.
Mistletoe has bled nutrients from this tree with obvious and inevitable results.
This Ironwood tree doesn't have a chance. As a "nurse tree" for the Saguaro cactus it will eventually succumb to the aggressive root system of the dominant cactus. The mistletoe will will aid in its demise but, like many accomplices, it will share the fate of its host.