Autumn is typically synonymous with scarves, sweaters and, of course, changing leaves. While the Sonoran Desert may not be known for its colorful transition of trees, if you know what to look for, desert plants have their own way of indicating a shift in the seasons. Take a peek at a few of the subtle fall changes of desert trees, cactus and aloes.
Some desert trees and other plants may hold onto their leaves during a wet summer, and should they make it to the cooler temperatures of fall, they can change from green to bright orange or yellow. A few examples of trees and shrubs you may see going through this shift in the Valley are sycamores, desert plumbago, Chinese Pistache and Mexican buckeye.
The Garden has a few plants that have their own transitions as well. Ocotillos can also sometimes hold onto their leaves through the summer, and they turn yellow come the cooler weather. Desert cotton can turn bright red. You can find these plants throughout the Garden’s trails. Stop by the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail if you care to see the cottonwoods, which will turn bright orange and yellow. Some cactus and aloes put on their own fall show too. You can see Santa Rita prickly pear turn dark purple as it gets cooler, and some species of aloes turn red as the temperature drops.
Take a look at this gallery of visitor photos sharing their Garden fall feelings. Tag the Garden (@dbgphx) in your photos for a chance to be featured.