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

  • Some Thoughts from the Director: The Fascinating Family of Polygonaceae

    Siegwarth, Mark; Boyce Thompson Arboretum (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
  • Box Number Two Arrives at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

    Norem, Margaret A.; Boyce Thompson Arboretum (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
  • Indigenous Use of Mopane (Colophospermum mopane) in Northwestern Namibia

    Bainbridge, Holly; Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, The University of Arizona (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
    The ability of people to adapt to limited resources is particularly remarkable in areas dominated by only one plant species. In the case of one indigenous people of northwestern Namibia, the Himba, often the only readily available plant material is that of the mopane ( Colophospermum mopane) due to harsh soil and weather conditions. By interviewing various Himba in seven different compounds located around Epupa Falls, Namibia, I was able to grasp the wide usage and cultural importance of mopane. They use nearly every part of this tree for various purposes spanning from construction to pain relief clearly showing the Himba's ability to maximize its potential. From personal interaction, it was clear that not only is the mopane ingrained into their daily lifestyle, but also into the Himba culture, as the basis of religious communication with the afterlife. Additionally, based on observation of the area, the cultural importance of mopane for the Himba may unintentionally protect it, given the close relationship between the people and the tree. Based on its myriad of uses, mopane plays an important role in the preservation of a traditional culture that is at the brink of modernization.
  • Autumn in the Season for Seeds - DELEP/BTA Collecting Trips in 2012

    Johnson, Matthew B.; Desert Legume Project, The University of Arizona/Boyce Thompson Arboretum (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
  • Allometric Equations for Predicting Above-ground Biomass of Tamarix in the Lower Colorado River Basin

    Wei, Xiaofang; Sritharan, Subramania I.; Kandiah, Ramanitharan; Osterberg, John; Central State University; The United States Bureau of Reclamation (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
    Allometric equations are essential for quantitative study of aboveground biomass. The paper presents an effort in acquisition and validation of allometric equation for salt cedar (Tamarix spp.), a species that has been criticized for its invasion and negative impacts on the riparian ecosystem in the western United States. In the summers of 2009 and 2011, biomass destructive samplings were conducted to harvest and collect salt cedar samples at Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona. The allometric equations were developed by establishing the relationship between aboveground biomass with average basal diameter, tree height, and total basal area. The validity and the strength of the allometric models were examined with the adjusted coefficient of determination (r²), standard error of estimate (SSE), and Akaike Information Criterion (AIC). Total basal area was identified as the best predictor for salt cedar biomass, followed by tree height. Average basal diameter was a poor predictor. In linear equations, total basal area accounted for 78.4 percent of the total variation in aboveground biomass. In logarithmic equations, tree height and total basal area together explained 87.7 percent and yielded the small AIC and SSE. These equations will advance the quantitative estimation of salt cedar biomass and provide useful information for studying evapotranspiration, water consumption, and carbon storage.
  • Monitoring Two Milk-vetches on the Arizona Strip

    Hughes, Lee E.; Bureau of Land Management (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12)
  • Desert Plants, Volume 28, Number 2 (December 2012)

    University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012-12