Desert Plants is a unique botanical journal published by The University of Arizona for Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum. This journal is devoted to encouraging the appreciation of indigenous and adapted arid land plants. Desert Plants publishes a variety of manuscripts intended for amateur and professional desert plant enthusiasts. A few of the diverse topics covered include desert horticulture, landscape architecture, desert ecology, and history. First published in 1979, Desert Plants is currently published biannually with issues in June and December.

Digital access to this material is made possible by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum, and the University Libraries at the University of Arizona.


Contact Desert Plants at DesertPlants@cals.arizona.edu.

Table of Contents

Recent Submissions

  • Bladderwort, Arizona's Carnivorous Wildflower

    Johnson, William T.; Arizona State University (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
  • Effects of Soil Materials, Mulching Treatments, and Soil Moisture on the Growth and Yield of Western Wheatgrass for Coal Mine Reclamation

    Day, A. D.; Ludeke, K. L.; Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona; Ludeke Corporation (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
    A 3-year experiment was conducted in the greenhouse at Tucson, Arizona to study the effects of three soil materials, three mulching treatments, and two soil moisture treatments on the growth and forage production of western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii Rydb.) when used in the reclamation of coal mine spoil. The three mulching treatments were: (1) No mulch. (2) Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) straw mulch, and (3) Russian thistle (Salsola kali L.) mulch. The two soil moisture treatments consisted of: (1) Optimum (60 cm total) and (2) Stressed (30 cm total). There were significant differences in number of stems per pot, plant height, and forage yield between soil materials, mulching treatments, and soil moisture treatments. The Gila loam soil, barley straw mulch, and optimum soil moisture treatment produced the highest number of stems per plot, the tallest plants, and the highest yield of forage. Plants were more vigorous and produced more forage when soil mulch (incorporated organic matter mulch) was used than when soils were not mulched. Barley straw and Russian thistle were of similar value as mulching materials. Within soil materials and within mulching treatments forage yields were significantly higher with optimum soil moisture than they were when moisture was limited.
  • Desert Plants of Use and Charm from Southwestern Africa

    Aronson, James A.; Thompson, Henry; The Institute for Applied Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Department of Developmental Studies, University of East Anglia (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
    In September, 1986 a botanical survey was undertaken of South West Africa/Namibia (SWAIN) and adjacent arid parts of the Republic of South Africa (RSA). Primary emphasis was placed on the arid and semiarid regions with under 250 mm mean annual rainfall, in which both the summer-and winter-rainfall areas were visited. Observations were made on wild plants with known or potential value as new fruit or nut, vegetable, medicinal, or forage and fodder crops. Wild relatives of conventional crops for breeding programs were identified as well as several useful halophytes. New trees for agroforestry systems and new desert landscaping subjects were spotted, and last but not least, many desert plants of note were found for inclusion in living collections for purposes of botanical study and rapture.
  • Floral Biology of Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis), an Anemophilous Plant

    Buchmann, Stephen L.; USDA Agricultural Research Service; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
    Simmondsia chinensis is a widespread perennial plant native to the Sonoran Desert of the United States and northern Mexico. Individuals are dioecious with small unisexual flowers borne on separate plants. The plants are strictly wind-pollinated (anemophilous). Honey bees (Apis mellifera) and native bees often collect large amounts of pollen from male plants but are never found visiting female plants, as there are no floral attractants or rewards in the form of volatiles or nectar, in the green apetalous female flowers. Male plants produce copious amounts of pollen, up to an estimated 523 g/plant, [0.5-2.4 mg/flower, or 8.3-48.9 mg/inflorescence]. Per anther there are from 11,000 to 18,000 pollen grains. The pollen is small, smooth with little exine sculpturing and averages 34μ in equatorial diameter. There is almost no surface oily pollenkitt on the grains. Anthers dehisce and pollen is shed during the entire day, but with an early afternoon peak from 1300 to 1500 MST. This corresponds to peak atmospheric concentrations of 60-63 grains/cubic meter during this period. Seasonal data for Jojoba aerial pollen concentrations and selected hourly values for certain days are also presented for 1982 and 1983 in a native stand. Data on floral number, floral ontogeny, stigmatic receptivity, and seeds per fruit, are also presented for Jojoba.
  • Sonoran Desert Rhizobia Found to Nodulate Acacia constricta

    Waldon, Hollis B.; Waldon Laboratories (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
  • Effects of Sewage Sludge on Yield and Quality of Wheat Grain and Straw in an Arid Environment

    Day, A. D.; Thompson, R. K.; Swingle, R. S.; Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona; Department of Animal Sciences, University of Arizona (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
    A 6-year experiment (1978) through 1983) was conducted at the Mesa Agricultural Center, Mesa Arizona, U.S.A. to study the effectiveness of dried sewage sludge as a fertilizer source for the production of grain and straw from 'Zaragoza' wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Three fertilizer treatments were applied each year before planting on a laveen loam soil, a member of the coarse-loamy, mixed, hyperthermic Typic Calciorthids. The treatments consisted of: (1) suggested rates of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in Arizona-160, 81, and 0 kg ha⁻¹ of N, P₂O₅, and K₂O; respectively; (2) 10 Mg ha⁻¹ of dried sewage sludge to supply N in amounts equal to the suggested rate; and (3) inorganic fertilizer to provide N, P, and K in amounts equal to those applied in the sewage sludge-160, 310, and 36 Kg ha⁻¹ of N, P₂O₅ and K₂O; respectively. Average number of days from planting to harvest, plant height, grain yield, grain volume-weight, and grain/straw ratio were similar for wheat grown with all fertilizer treatments. In vitro dry matter disappearance (IVDMD) and total protein concentration in wheat grain were similar for all fertilizer treatments. In vitro dry matter disappearance and total protein concentrations in wheat straw grown with sewage sludge alone were higher than they were in straw from wheat grown with suggested N, P, and K from commercial fertilizer. Wheat grain and straw from all fertilizer treatments contained relatively low concentrations of cadmium, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. Concentrations of N, P, K, Na and total soluble salts were higher in soil fertilized with dried sewage sludge for 6 years than they were in the original soil.
  • The Hybrid Palo Verde 'Desert Museum': A New, Superior Tree for Desert Landscapes

    Dimmitt, Mark A.; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
    A recently released complex hybrid palo verde is described which exhibits the best phenotypic traits of the three species in its parentage. 'Desert Museum' has inherited from Parkinsonia aculeata very rapid growth (up to 2.7 meters, nine feet, per year), sturdy, upright growth habit, and large, bright flowers borne over a long season. From Cercidium spp. it has inherited small leaves. Unlike any species of palo verde, the hybrid is completely unarmed. Preliminary evaluation indicates that 'Desert Museum' is a nearly ideal tree for cultivation in desert climates. It grows to a functional size of seven meters (20 feet) tall and wide in three to five years, after which time it can be maintained on little or no supplemental water. Its growth habit requires little or no pruning or staking. The litter from the small leaves is inconspicuous and readily blows away or decomposes. The tree is apparently resistant to indigenous pests and diseases. Availability is currently limited until a method for large scale propagation is developed.
  • Editorial - The Precise Definitions of Hardiness and Xericity in Desert Plants

    Crosswhite, F. S.; Crosswhite, C. D. (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987)
  • Desert Plants, Volume 8, Number 3 (1987)

    University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1987