Anza-Borrego Trip #8
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Anza Borrego Desert #8

California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) in Borrego Palm Canyon.
Although 70 percent of the native fan palms in Borrego Palm Canyon were washed down the steep canyon during the flash flood of September 2004, there are still survivors that will perpetuate the species. This photo was taken during March 2005.

Palm Canyon photographed in February 2005. The boulder-strewn riverbed is littered with the trunks of California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera), carried downstream during the flash flood of September 2004. Although more than a thousand palms occupied scattered groves up this steep canyon, 70 percent of them were washed out in raging wall of water over 10 feet high.

The trunk of a California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) in Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego State Park. The palm was washed down the steep canyon during the flash flood of September 2004. The fibrous strands are vascular bundles composed of lignified cells.

Volumes have been written about the amazing world of beetles. Adult short circuit beetles (Scobicia declivis) bore into lead sheathing of telephone cables causing short circuiting when moisture enters the small holes. Trunks of native California fan palms in the southwestern U.S. often contain large circular tunnels, the work of huge boring larvae (Dinapate wrightii), a member of the family Bostrichidae. The hardwood floor beneath a palm trunk section at the San Diego Museum of Natural History was deeply grooved by one of these larvae. The adult beetle is truly bizarre. In the late 1800's museums paid up to $1,000 to an enterprising collector for one of these striking beetles. The collector (probably a business major) reportedly inflated the value of his merchandise by keeping their exact location a secret.

The larva and adult of the palm-boring beetle (Dinapate wrightii).

  Anatomy Of Monocot Stems  
Anatomy Of Palm Wood

Oyster Mushroom & Oyster Mushroom Growing Kit

Wild oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus).

This edible fungus was common on trunks of California fan palms in Borrego Palm Canyon during the rainy season of February 2005. The palms were washed out the previous September during an enormous flash flood. Oyster mushrooms grow on the stumps of a variety of trees in North America. They are known to form massive clusters weighing more than one hundred pounds. Although their shape can be variable, the margin is often wavy or lobed.

Oyster Mushroom Growing Kit

Although it was labeled "Pearl Oyster Mushroom" (Pleurotis ostreatus), it may be a hybrid between 2 races of oyster mushrooms that was developed in Japan. The black-capped fruiting bodies resemble the "King Trumpet" or "King Oyster" (P. eryngii) when young. Special thanks to the MacDonald Family (Chrissy, John, Hannah, Cinco, Mia & Ronin) for this special gift on my 80th birthday!

Having degrees in botany & biology, I must say that the Kingdom Fungi truly have the most amazing & complicated life cycles. I am especially intrigued by the gill mushrooms and how they maintain binucleate cells containing 2 nuclei representing 2 mating strains. Each time the cells divide the nuclei go through an amazing migration so that each cell gets a copy of the original 2 nuclei.

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