On the drive back from Santa Fe, I decided to take Route 60 from Socorro across the plains of San Augustin, past the Very Large Array radio observatory, up over the Continental Divide at Pie Town, and then through Show Low to the Salt River Canyon. Grusonia clavata in Socorro:
Opuntia macrocentra near the northern edge of its range, also in Socorro. Interesting to see it growing with the more Northern NM forms of O. phaeacantha, where the ranges overlap:
On the left, a standard O. phaeacantha. On the right, soemthing else, not sure what, followed by a close up.
In the Salt River Canyon:
West of the canyon I hiked around a bit in what was essentially a mud bog.
A couple very tidy Escobaria vivipara:
A majestic, very old juniper with very rough bark. Do alligator junipers grow in this area?
The cool find was Echinocereus bonkerae. I'm surprised to see it's a separate species now, again, after 80 years of being shuttled around under fendleri, fasciculatus and engelmannii. At first I thought these looked like dasyacanthus but of course dasyacanthus doesn't grow in AZ at 6000 feet.
Shows clearly how unbelievably muddy and wet it was:
Some were shaggier than others:
The other truly stunning plant in this area is Agave parryi. Is this a particular variety or just the species? I am woefully ignorant of Agave. But these plants are dazzlers.
Look forward to heading up there to get some bonkerae flower pics this spring. The flowers are truly incredible, large and magenta/purple.