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

  • Arabian Desert Primer: Ornamental Potential of Hyper-arid Adapted Plants from Saudi Arabia

    Petrie, Jeffrey M. (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06)
  • Preliminary Findings of the Southwest Monarch Study

    Kline, C. L.; Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06)
  • Book Review

    Norem, Margaret (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06)
  • The Outstanding Stamens of Pennisetum clandestinum

    Mauz, Kathryn; University of Arizona Herbarium (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06)
  • Electronic Field Guide to the Plants of Popular Recreation Sites in Arizona's Donoran Desert

    Johnson, William Theodore (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06)
    Field guides occupy the intersection of plants and people. Improving the user's understanding of nature, plant field guides have the potential of increasing the satisfaction of their outdoor experience. A more satisfied field guide user is more likely to take action to preserve places where native plants grow. Unfortunately, print field guides are either too technical or incomplete, resulting in frustration rather than satisfaction. Most offer no systematic method where a user may identify an unknown plant based on observable characteristics, relying instead on randomly browsing through a series of illustrations in the hope that a static photo or drawing will resemble the plant in question. Picture-book taxonomy is unreliable when the geographic area under consideration is large and the vegetation diverse. Arizona, especially its Sonoran Desert is such an environment, where sporadic precipitation fosters the unreliable occurrence of annuals and species with unusual growth forms, which may not be included in field guides to the Southwest, West, or North America. Print field guides, which include all known plants to small, isolated geographic areas such as popular parks is simply not cost effective. Electronic field guides are not constrained by these economic limitations and they offer a superior method of identifying plants. With an eye to the future where dynamic, interactive features become the norm for high tech users packing portable electronic devices over hill and dale, this article introduces a novel field guide to plants using standard spreadsheet software. Based on floras produced by graduate students and others for 12 popular recreation sites near large population centers, this E-guide offers a fast, reliable, non-technical tool for large numbers of outdoor enthusiasts to identify plants in areas they already visit and enjoy.
  • Desert Plants, Volume 23, Number 1 (June 2007)

    University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2007-06