Anza-Borrego Wind Caves
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Fish Creek & Wind Caves of Anza-Borrego Desert
San Diego County, California   © W.P. Armstrong 4 December 2011
Plants Along Fish Creek En Route To Wind Caves Trail Head

Salton milkvetch (Astragalus crotalariae). This is the largest genus of flowering plants with 2,481 species, including 20 spp. in San Diego County, 97 spp. in Caifornia and 390 spp. in North America.

  See Anza-Borrego Locoweed Page  

Desert Mistletoe (Phoradendron californicum) With Flower Buds

This is a male Phoradendron californicum with unopened flower buds. The unisexual flowers are produced on short spikes within a many-branched inflorescence. Each spike is subtended by a small bract (cataphyll). Each sessile, spherical flower is enclosed within a green perianth and is attached to a cavity in the spike axis. I removed the perianth of one flower exposing several anther pollen sacs. Phoradendron flowers are typically 3-merous with one whorl of perianth segments. Female flowers have an inferior ovary with perianth parts attached above the ovary (epigynous).

One of many spikes on male Phoradendron californicum parasitic on cat's-claw acacia (Acacia greggii).

Views From Wind Caves Trail Head

Kate, Mike and creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)

The foliage and fuzzy white fruit of creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). The glistening resinous coating insulates the leaves and reduces water loss by transpiration. It is a mixture of phenolic resin and volatile terpenes, and is not the commercial source of creosote used to preserve wood. The commercial creosote used on railroad ties and telephone poles is derived from the distillation of coal tar.

Close-up view of the stem of creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). The dark resin globs are secretions from the creosote bush lac insect (Tachardiella larreae), a scale insect related to the commercial seed lac insect. It was collected by several tribes of Native Americans and used as a multipurpose glue and sealant.

Seed lac is the resinous secretions of lac insects. Shellac is prepared from these resinous excretions on the twigs of several species of Asian and southeast Asian trees, including Butea, Cajanus and Acacia of the pea family (Fabaceae); Schleichera of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae); Zizyphus of the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae); and Ficus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). The lac insect belongs to the Order Homoptera (along with aphids, scale insects and mealy bugs), and depending on the reference, it is listed as Tachardia lacca or Laccifer lacca.

  Wayne's Word Article About Plant Resins & Waxes  

Wind Caves

Placidium lacinulatum, a squamulose soil lichen commonly associated with cryptobiotic crust in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The thallus is composed of small, brown, scalelike squamules. The spore-bearing perithecia are embedded in the thallus.

  Wayne's Word Article About Cryptobiotic Crust  

Lycium Creek Wash

Little Desert Trumpet (Eriogonum trichopes)

Orcutt's Woody Aster (Xylorhiza orcuttii)

Botanists of Fish Creek, Wind Caves & Lycium Creek Wash.

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