DryStoneGarden

Plants, Stone, California Landscapes

Flower

Baja Multitrunks

Elephant Tree

Elephant Tree at Dusk

Here are some more plant photos I took in Baja in the desert around San Ignacio and Cerro Colorado, along the coast near Bahia Concepcion, and further south near Cabo Pulmo. My first go at taking photos in low desert, pretty fun, as my favorite things in the plant world are multitrunked trees with interesting form and bark, and Baja is pretty much an entire landscape of beautiful multitrunked specimens with interesting form and bark. Elephant trees were my favorites, but there were other stunning ones: Palo Verdes, Palo Blancos, Cardon Cactus, Organ Pipe Cactus, Adam’s Tree known in Spanish as Palo Adan (Fouquieria diguetii, the southern form of Ocotillo) and Limberbush (Jatropha cuneata), which I’d never heard of but really liked. So many good ones. I suppose some of them are technically standards or semi-standards, but practically all of the plants down there grow with the interesting form I associate with multitrunk trees.

Limberbush, Jatropha sp.

Limberbush, Jatropha cuneata

Cardon

Cardon

The Cardones come in graceful or stubby forms.

Cardon Multitrunk

Cardon Multitrunk

Organ Pipe Cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus

Elephant Tree

Elephant Tree

Burseras

Burseras

We saw hillsides that had an amazing specimen every twenty or thirty feet.

Elephant Tree, Bursera microphylla

Bursera microphylla, Elephant Tree aka Torote

Torote means ‘twisted.’

Elephant Tree Trunk

Elephant Tree Trunk

Fouquieria diguetii

Graveside Fouquieria diguetii, Palo Adan

Fouquieria

Zero Leaves, One Bloom Cluster

Fouquieria diguetii, Adams Tree

Lots of Leaves, No Flowers

In the drier sections most of the Fouquierias were leafless, with maybe a few token blooms to keep the hummingbirds and visiting gardenbloggers happy; down south a lot of them were in full leaf with fewer flowers. Does anyone know why they’re called Palo Adan or Adam’s tree?

Fouquieria diguetii

Fouquieria diguetii at Playa Requeson

I remember something incredibly spiny was keeping me from backing up any more for this photo.

Palo verde

Palo verde, aka Desert Willow

I’m partial to the name palo verde, but desert willow, another of its common names, seems appropriate too. Leafless they looked a lot like Japanese maples, but in full leaf they were indeed willowy.

Green Sticks

Green Sticks

Roadside Palo Verde

Roadside Palo Verde

As far as I’m concerned, they’re pretty even when they grow along the highway with trash scattered around.

Mesquite Tree

Mesquite Tree

We started calling the Mesquites ‘Palo Gris’, because their trunks are gray but their green twigs and foliage resembles a Palo Verde. They’re actually a pretty sweet little tree, I think, just not as showy as the Palo Verdes and Palo Blancos. I read somewhere that some miners in Baja once found a root 50 meters deep.

Palo Blanco

Palo Blanco

Palo Blanco is a perfect common name, but if Palo Verde gets desert willow for a second common name, I think Palo Blanco should also get a second name and be called desert birch. They did seem biggest and happiest at the bottoms of washes and arroyos where they could find some extra water.

Palo Blanco

Palo Blanco

Palo Blanco

Palo Blanco

Tags: , , ,

10 Responses to “Baja Multitrunks”

  1. February 9th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Christine B. says:

    Very dramatic trees! Having just one like that in a garden would be a designers dream. I especially love that there is no snow in the photos;)

    Christine in Alaska

  2. February 9th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    ryan says:

    I wouldn’t mind a few of these in my garden either. We met a few Alaskans down there. Apparently Baja is a little warmer this time of year.

  3. February 10th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    country mouse says:

    And I thought our chaparral was dry! Strange and wonderful. We just finished clearing the last strip of chaparral (actually we hired this job out as I have a sore shoulder) and revealed more wonderful multi-trunk manzanita, could be decades old.
    BTW our blog was tagged with an “Honest Scrap” award by Christine at Idora Design – I did the post for us mice and tagged you (and six others) in turn. Don’t feel obligated – but have fun if you like.

  4. February 11th, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    ryan says:

    Those manzanitas are probably beautiful. Thanks for the tag. I’ll do it if I think of anything interesting like you did.

  5. February 12th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Brad says:

    Those are some beautiful trees. And I like the names, both real and your inventions. The pics make me appreciate multi-trunked trees more.

  6. February 14th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    lostlandscape (James) says:

    “Desert birch”–excellent! Even in my more coastal area people are planting palo verdes. I’d like to see some of the palo blacos as well. (Maybe a good sub for folks who really have to have their birch trees?)

  7. February 14th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    ryan says:

    I’ll take that as two votes to sometimes call them desert birch. Now the question is how it would look to plant three of them on a mound covered with river stones?

  8. March 15th, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    chuck b. says:

    Great essay. I heart multi-trunk trees.

  9. January 5th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    tom says:

    Adan means Adam in Spanish, so Palo Adam is Adam’s tree. It branches like a geneology and shows our lineage from Adam.Tom in Baja

    T

  10. January 28th, 2013 at 11:25 am

    ryan says:

    Thanks, Tom. That makes sense.