The Living Desert
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Upper Colorado Desert Garden

The Living Desert is part of the Colorado Desert, the driest subdivision of the Sonoran Desert. This region gets its name from the Colorado River, which forms its eastern boundary.

Elevations range from minus 273 feet at the Salton Sea, to the dry hillsides at 3.000 feet recreated in this garden.

Botanical Name Common Name Family
Adenophyllum porophylloides San Felipe Dogweed Asteraceae
Agave deserti Desert Agave Asparagaceae
Ambrosia dumosa Burrobush, White Bursage Asteraceae
Ambrosia salsola Cheesebush Asteraceae
Asclepias albicans Whitestem Milkweed, Coach Whip Milkweed Apocynaceae
Asclepias subulata Desert Milkweed, Rush Milkweed Apocynaceae
Atriplex polycarpa Cattle Spinach Chenopodiaceae
Baccharis sergiloides Desert Waterweed Asteraceae
Bahiopsis parishii Goldeneye Asteraceae
Bebbia juncea var. aspera Sweetbush Asteraceae
Bernardia incana Mouse-eye, Western Bernardia Euphorbiaceae
Chilopsis linearis Desert Willow Bignoniaceae
Coryphanthaalversonii Foxtail Cactus Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia bigelovii Jumping Cholla, Teddybear Cholla Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa Silver Cholla Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia ganderi Gander’s Cholla Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia ramosissima Diamond Cholla, Darning Needle Cholla Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia x fosbergii Mason Valley Cholla Cactaceae
Echinocereus engelmannii Calico Hedgehog Cactus Cactaceae
Encelia farinosa Brittlebush Asteraceae
Ericameria linearifolia Narrowleaf Goldenbush Asteraceae
Eriogonum wrightii White Buckwheat, Wright’s Buckwheat Polygalaceae
Ferocactus cylindraceus California Barrel Cactus, Compass Barrel Cactaceae
Fouquieria splendens Ocotillo Fouquieraceae
Gutierrezia sarothrae Matchweed Asteraceae
Hesperoyucca whipplei Our Lord’s Candle, Chaparral Yucca Asparagaceae
Hibiscus denudatus Paleface, Rock Hibiscus Malvaceae
Hoffmannseggia microphylla Little Leaf Rush Pea Fabaceae
Hyphaene thebaica x natalensis Egyptian Doum Palm Arecaceae
Keckiella antirrhinoides var. microphylla Bush Penstemon Plantaginaceae
Larrea tridentata Creosote Bush Zygophyllaceae
Mirabilis laevis (syn. Mirabilis bigelovii) Wishbone Bush Nyctaginaceae
Opuntia basilaris Beavertail Cactus Cactaceae
Opuntia phaeacantha Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactaceae
Palafoxia arida var. arida (syn. Palafoxia linearis) Spanish Needle Asteraceae
Penstemon clevelandii Cleveland’s Beardtongue Plantaginaceae
Petalonyx thurberi Sandpaper Plant Loasaceae
Peucephyllum schottii Pygmy Cedar Asteraceae
Psorothamnus emoryii Dyeweed Fabaceae
Psorothamnus schottii Indigo Bush Fabaceae
Psorothamnus spinosus Smoke Tree Fabaceae
Rhus ovata Sugar Bush Anacardiaceae
Scutellaria mexicana Paper-bag Bush, Bladder Sage Lamiaceae
Senegalia greggii (syn. Acacia greggii) Cat’s Claw Acacia Fabaceae
Simmondsia chinensis Jojoba, Goatnut Simmondsiaceae
Sphaeralcea ambigua ssp. rosacea Rose Mallow Malvaceae
Thamnosma montana Turptentine Broom Rutaceae
Thymophylla pentachaeta Golden Dogweed Asteraceae
Tiquilia plicata Fanleaf Crinklemat, Plicate Coldenia Boraginaceae
Trixis californica Trixis Asteraceae
Xylorhiza cognata Mecca Aster Asteraceae
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