This is probably the best time of the year to enjoy Arizona...mainly the mountains of outer phoenix. First the weather is incredible (55f or 12c) and the desert is springing with life. I wanted to show my friends in Ukraine a little of what the Arizona Desert looks like.
I am standing in front of a Giant Saguaro cactus. Because it just rained it is plumper than normal. This is a plant with a very shallow root base. It collects as much desert water after a rain from the surface. It then stores it inside to live on through the very hot summer months. It is "fluted" vertically so it can expand and contract with water.
Here is a "jumping cactus". No, it doesn't really jump but gets its name from the cactus needles it releases when brushed up against. When the needles go in, they curl on the ends like fish hooks. Last time I got some in me I had to use pliers to get the needles out.