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  • Dominating the vegetation are large stem-succulents, particularly the massive cardón (Pachycereus pringlei, a giant relative of the saguaro), and trees such as palo verde, tree ocotillo (Fouquieria diguetii and F. macdougalii), ironwood, elephant tree (Bursera spp.), and limberbush (Jatropha spp.); the trees are leafless most of the time.

    Subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert

  • Another remarkable plant found in the Sonora desert is the ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), which may remain leafless during the coldest months of winter but experiences five or six leafy periods throughout the year.

    Sonoran desert

  • Where the dunes allow for slight inclination of the slope, species of mesquite (Prosopis), Cercidium, palo fierro (Olneya tesota), Candalia, Lycium, choya (Opuntia), Fouquieria, jécota (Hymenoclea) and Acacia are favored.

    Sonoran desert

  • Away from the Gulf influence in the area surrounding the Pinacate Encelia farinosa, Larrea tridentata, and cacti species such as Olneya, Cercidium, Prosopis, and Fouquieria again dominate the desert.

    Sonoran desert

  • Water is further conserved by reduced surface areas; most succulents have few leaves (agaves), no leaves (most cacti), or leaves that are deciduous in dry seasons (elephant tree [Bursera spp.], boojums [Fouquieria columnaris]).

    Adaptations of desert plants

  • Highway construction has already destroyed part of the habitat of Cephalocereus hoppenstedttii, Agave titanota and Fouquieria purpusii.

    Tehuacán Valley matorral

  • In the states of San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas, the most common associations contain lechuguilla (Agave lechuguilla), Agave falcata, Bouteloua curtipendula, Bouteloua trifida, Dalea nana, Dasylirion cedrosanum, Ferocactus pringlei, Fouquieria splendens and Opuntia imbricata, and many others.

    Central Mexican matorral

  • Characteristic Sonoran species on the islands are the palo verde Cercidium spp., elephant tree Bursera microphylla, desert ironwood Olneya tesota, limberbush Jatropha spp., ocatillo Fouquieria diguetti, white bursage Ambrosia spp. and cacti such as the columnar cardon Pachycerus pringlei, viejito Mammillaria capensis, cholla Opuntia cholla and prickly pears Opuntia spp.

    Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California, Mexico

  • Fouquieria columnaris can be also found up to 1200m.

    Baja California desert

  • The southeastern portion of the desert scrub is gradually transformed from a strict Larrea-Flourensia scrub to one in which Fouquieria splendens, Yucca filifera, Agave lechuguilla and Cordia boissieri are the most common elements.

    Chihuahuan desert


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