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Canyon Garden

Compared to the sandy desert floor or rocky hillside, a desert canyon is a favorable environment for plants and animals because it holds some moisture and offers protection from extreme temperatures, aridity, and drying winds.

All canyons are created by water. They are storm drains funneling runoff from mountainsides to the desert below. Heavy storm waters will uproot and carry huge trees and rocks down the mountain, and deposit the litter, like these huge boulders, on the canyon floor. The force of the water may carry lighter rocks beyond the mouth of the canyon, where they settle in a fan called a bajada (bah-HA-dah).

Many canyons have permanent streams and are rich with plant and animal life; others are dry except during rainstorms, but even dry canyons have shaded nooks and crannies, and moist niches supporting plants and animals that could not survive anywhere else in the desert.

Botanical Name Common Name Family
Acanthogilia gloriosa Baja Gilia Polemoniaceae
Agave aurea Asparagaceae
Agave gigantensis Asparagaceae
Antigonon leptopus Coral Vine, Queen’s Wreath Vine Polygonaceae
Brahea armata Mexican Blue Palm Arecaceae
Calliandra californica Baja Fairy Duster Fabaceae
Chilopsis linearis Desert Willow Bignoniaceae
Cochemiea poselgeri Cactaceae
Dalea bicolor var. orcuttiana Baja Dalea Fabaceae
Ebenopsis confinis Palo Fiero, Ojoton Fabaceae
Echinocereus sanpedroensis San Pedro Hedgehog Cactaceae
Euphorbia misera Cliff Spurge Euphorbiaceae
Euphorbia xanti Shrubby Euphorbia Euphorbiaceae
Ficus palmeri Baja Rock Fig Moraceae
Lysiloma candida Palo Blanco Fabaceae
Morangaya pensilis Cactaceae
Nolina beldingii Belding’s Beargrass Asparagaceae
Nolina bigelovii Bigelow’s Nolina Asparagaceae
Parkinsonia microphylla Little-leaf Palo Verde Fabaceae
Pereskiopsis porteri Alcajer Cactaceae
Ruellia californica Desert Ruellia Acanthaceae
Washingtonia filifera Desert Fan Palm, California Fan Palm Arecaceae
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