The Green Desert

Making use of our yearlong National Parks Pass, I was through the southern gate at Joshua Tree around 6:40 this morning. I haven’t been to Joshua Tree since winter, and though there was plenty of rainfall in the past few months, I didn’t expect as much green in the arid landscape this late in the year. Usually by mid-June the shrubbery is dry and brown.

The shrubbery was so green that it looked much like farmland in the distance.

Some plants are still blooming.

Honeybees were noisily engaged with these flowers.

More color.

Smoke trees are found in desert washes. The washes have deep moisture reserves, but more importantly, flash floods spread the tree’s seeds.

The ocotillo in bloom above, adds a peppering of red blooms against the blue sky.

Closer view of an ocotillo. The leaves sprout on the trunk and the plant blooms only after adequate rainfall. Blooming is not seasonal.