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Baja Palm Oasis Garden

Near the little town of Catavina in Baja California is a unique canyon habitat where three distinctive fan palm species grow side by side. Except in this rare place, the three species; the blue fan palm (Brahea armata), the Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta) and the desert fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) are not known to occur together. The Catavina palm oasis is replicated here.

Fan palms are distinguished by leaves called fronds, which “fan out” at the base of the stem. Compare this to date and coconut palms, with their characteristic feather-shaped fronds.

Palms always indicate that water is present. Relicts of a subtropical age, they only survive in a few naturally moist areas around springs and in sheltered desert canyons in California, Arizona and Mexico.

Botanical Name Common Name Family
Acalypha californica California Copperleaf Euphorbiaceae
Ambrosia chenopodiifolia Goosefoot Bursage Asteraceae
Antigonon leptopus Coral Vine, Queen’s Wreath Vine Polygonaceae
Brahea armata Mexican Blue Palm Arecaceae
Bursera microphylla Elephant Tree, Torote Blanco Burseraceae
Calliandra californica Baja Fairy Duster Fabaceae
Echinocereus brandegeei Brandegee’s Hedgehog, Casa de Rata Cactaceae
Ferocactus gracilis Fire Barrel Cactus Cactaceae
Ficus palmeri Baja Rock Fig Moraceae
Horsfordia alata Pink Felt Plant Malvaceae
Justicia californica Chuparosa Acanthaceae
Mirabilis sp. Wishbone Bush Nyctaginaceae
Pedilanthus macrocarpus Candelilla, Slipper Plant Euphorbiaceae
Ruellia californica Desert Ruellia Acanthaceae
Senna goldmannii Goldman’s Senna Fabaceae
Stenocereus gummosus Pitaya Agria Cactaceae
Tecoma stans var. stans Yellow Bells, Esperanza Bignoniaceae
Vachellia constricta (syn. Acacia constricta) White Thorn Acacia Fabaceae
Viscainoa geniculata Guayacan, Viscainoa Zygophyllaceae
Washingtonia filifera Desert Fan Palm, California Fan Palm Arecaceae
Washingtonia robusta Mexican Fan Palm Arecaceae
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