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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

Iron-would Bloom?

Tortolita Preserve (5/15/22)

Old Timer (left) and Youngster (right)

Ironwood Trees

No Bloom


Recently I have seen ironwood trees in full-bloom along the local roadways. So I hiked the Tortolita Preserve this morning to get some good photos of ironwood trees in bloom. Nada!

Looked back at photos taken at the Tortolita Preserve (TP) Bypass at the same spot and compared those photos with one taken today. Each photo was taken with days of each other in May 2020, 2021 and 2022. See below.

On 5/17/20 there was a nice ironwood tree bloom and this was preceded by a good monsoon in the summer of 2019. On 5/9/21 there were no blooms---this was preceded by a non-soon in the summer of 2020. Today (5/15/22) there were no blooms---this was preceded by a very good monsoon in the summer of 2021. So what gives?

According to the Desert Museum Website-Ironwood Tree Tab, ironwood tree flower and fruit are only abundant four years per decade. Ironwood trees follow an unpredictable pattern of of germination called, "discrete episode recruitment." It is obvious that this year (so far) there was no recruitment!

So why are the ironwood trees blooming along the roadways? Perhaps commercially planted and/or getting water from roadside irrigation or runoff? This is your research project for the week!

Here is a collage of other photos taken this morning of the blood moon, saguaro blooms, last palo verde bloom, ironwood trees and an unidentified bird).


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