Monday, April 29, 2013

A Bevy of Blossoms

Since Joshua Tree National Park is in the news, I'm linking to an earlier post (Something Wicked This Way Comes) which has pictures from my visit there - and some pictures of the trees from years ago for comparison.  The article about the unprecedented flowering this spring is below the video.  Desperate attempts to put inordinate amounts of energy into reproduction is a survival strategy being employed by conifers, nut and other trees.  Naturally, the "experts" are blaming drought or climate, even though Joshua Tree is the second most polluted park in the country, which is to say, it's had terrible air for decades, being downwind from Los Angeles.
This absolutely incredible event is a powerful sign that the decline of trees, which has been accelerating for several years, has truly become exponential.

~ from the Huffington Post
Something mysterious is happening in the Mojave Desert's Joshua Tree National Park. The reason may be grim but the effect is beautiful.
"It's more than interesting, it's probably unprecedented in anybody's recent memory anyway," Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist at the University of California, Riverside, told ABC.
He's talking about blooms on the Joshua trees that are larger than locals say they've ever seen.
"I don't know what happened this year, but it's been an incredible display," Virginia Willis, a 15-year resident, told ABC. "It doesn't make any sense, but I guess nature is that way, we don't have it all figured out yet."
Some biologists think the blooms are a stress response by the trees to climate change -- specifically, to much less rain. Joshua Tree national park typically receives between two to five inches of rain a year but this year only received 7/10 of an inch, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The theory is that the trees are producing more flowers -- and thus more seeds -- in an effort to survive with less rain. And locals hope it works, because right now the iconic trees are in decline.
"We haven't had a new, young Joshua tree emerge on our Wickenburg study site in almost 30 years, and there have been a number of trees that have died," desert ecologist Jim Cornett told USA Today. "They're just not getting the kind of environmental conditions that they require to survive."


  1. Time to pack up the pickup and tear around the desert checking out the blooms.

  2. "The stimulation of plant growth by exposing seeds or growing plants to low doses of ionizing radiation, or by the use of radioactive fertilizers, has been reported by many investigators during the past 65 years. There is critical evidence that ionizing radiation may stimulate plant growth at certain stages of development and may induce earlier flowering. It can also stimulate lateral bud development, presumably by auxin inactivation. These stimulating effects are usually of small magnitude and are often not reproducible, although in individual tests the differences may be statistically significant."


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