Thursday, April 5, 2012

Visit to Tucson

It's been a busy couple of weeks around here - last Friday I successfully defended my PhD thesis, and two days later we flew from wintry Madison to sunny Tucson, AZ, where we will be moving in June as I start a postdoc at the University of Arizona. We need to find a place to live down here, hence the visit - not to mention that I needed a vacation after the last throes of thesis writing.

Tucson is beautiful, but I have to warn you that there won't be any ferns in this post. I looked, but I wasn't able to find any in the few recreational trips we squeezed in between apartment viewings. I know they're here, though - in fact, there's something of a fern diversity hotspot in this part of the country, and I look forward to blogging more about the ferns of the southwest and the myriad adaptations that allow them to be successful in these punishing climates. For now, though, I give you some photos from a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which I think is destined to become one of our favorite spots in the Tucson area. The Sonoran desert has upwards of 1500 plant species, I've been told, most of them completely new to me, and all of them very beautiful. I hope you'll agree!
Below: Oenothera caespitosa and an Aloe: 

The many faces of family Cactaceae...

Beautiful blooming Ocotillo, otherwise known as Fouquieria splendens. This is my first encounter with the neat family Fouquieriaceae:

And to round out the collection of classic, charismatic desert flora, here are an Agave (left), and Mescal pélon (right):