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.

Recent Submissions

  • Trichocereus as a Potential Nursery Crop in Southern Arizona, With Discussion of the Opuntia Borer (Cerambycidae: Moneilema gigas) as a Serious Threat to its Cultivation

    Crosswhite, Carol D.; Crosswhite, Frank S.; Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum; University of Arizona (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985)
    Southern Arizona and southern California are economically competing regions with regard to production of ornamental cacti and succulents for sale throughout the United States. Economics of field -production vs greenhouse- production are discussed for both regions. Comparatively few cacti and succulents are field -produced in Arizona because few ornamental selections have been located which can economically be produced in the open considering the rigors of the desert environment. The Golden Torch Cactus (Trichocereus spachianus (Lem.) Ricc.) represents a promising nursery crop for field production in southern Arizona but has four seemingly unrelated problems. These problems are all shown to result from damage to Trichocereus by a single species of Cerambycid beetle, with damage to the cactus occurring throughout the life cycle of the beetle. Despite such an intimate relationship between beetle and Trichocereus, and although the beetle seems more destructive to Trichocereus than to native North American cacti, the beetle, far from proving to be an Argentinian introduction like Trichocereus, actually belongs to the genus of native Opuntia Borer (Moneilema), associated with Cholla and Prickly Pear in North America since the classic observations by Thomas Say on Major Long's 1819 -20 expedition to the Rocky Mountains. Although the present article is thought to be the first report of damage to Trichocereus by Moneilema, the degree to which we have found Trichocereus in Arizona to be infested suggests a rather long- standing condition. Specifically, we report Moneilema gigas LeConte to cause the following pathologic conditions in Trichocereus spachianus in Arizona: 1) bacterial and fungal rot of deep internal tissues, 2) external chewing disfiguration by adult beetles, 3) sporadic growth spurts making disfiguring constrictions of the stem, and 4) hollowing out of stems by boring larvae. Possible reasons for the virulence of Moneilema gigas in attacking Trichocereus are discussed. With the knowledge that four major problems associated with Trichocereus cultivation in Arizona actually result from infestation by a single beetle species, and with the possibility of controlling this insect pest, commercial field -production of the cactus in southern Arizona may finally prove economically rewarding.
  • New World Salvias For Cultivation in Southern Arizona

    Starr, Greg (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985)
    A compilation of information on New World Salvias which are adaptable for cultivation in southern Arizona is presented. Southern Arizona is restricted to mid- and low-elevation desert regions. Description, taxonomy, and horticulture of the genus are discussed. A key to species is provided for identification. Detailed descriptions, locale of native occurrence, and cultivation of twenty -seven taxa are included.
  • Wildfire in Southeastern Arizona Between 1859 and 1890

    Bahre, Conrad J.; University of California (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985)
    Local newspaper accounts of wildfires in southeastern Arizona between 1859 and 1890 demonstrate that during that period, 1) wildfires were much larger in areal extent, especially in the grasslands, than they are at present; 2) the occurrence of large grassland fires declined after 1882, probably as a result of overgrazing; 3) the cessation of major grassland fires preceded the "brush invasion" of the 1890s; 4) Amerinds, especially the Apaches, set wildfires; 5) wildfire suppression was favored by the early Anglo settlers; 6) wildfires occurred in all of the major vegetation communities, including desert scrub; and 7) wildfires were fairly frequent.
  • Chrysothamnus nauseosus (Rubber Rabbitbrush): Multiple-Use Shrub of the Desert

    Weber, D. J.; Davis, T. D.; McArthur, E. D.; Sankhla, N.; Brigham Young University; U.S.D.A. Forest Service; University of Jodhpur (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985)
    Rubber Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus), a common desert shrub native to the western United States, grows over a wide range of environmental conditions from Mexico to Canada. Rabbitbrush grows well in disturbed sites and can grow in saline soils. It has a high rate of net photosynthesis for a woody C3 plant and does not become light saturated at full sun. The many current and potential uses for the shrub include forage value for wildlife and livestock, landscape use, production of natural rubber, potential hydrocarbon crop, and potential source of natural insecticides and fungicides. Its potential has not been fully recognized.
  • Desert Plants, Volume 7, Number 4 (1985)

    University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1985