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Lake Mead - Hoover Dam
Ecology of Hoover Dam

Plants of the Area

Drawing of Barrel CactusPerhaps the most recognized cactus in Las Vegas is the barrel cactus. It is not hollow, as many believe, but has a spongy pulp inside. When growing, most barrel cactus lean to the South. It is also known as the bisnaga, red barrel, fire barrel, solitary barrel and compass barrel cactus.
(More abouth the Barrel Cactus)

Drawing of Beavertail CactusThis cactus has flat, greenish jointed stems with rose or lavender flowers from March to June. The height is 6 to 12 inches and frequently found in dry, rocky desert flats or slopes. The beavertail cactus looks like the prickly pear, but does not have long spines. It has tiny hair-like spines instead.
(More abouth the Beavertail Cactus)

Drawing of Cholla CactusThe cholla (pronounced "cho-yah") cactus has jointed stems that are tubular. These joints can break off and take root in the ground to grow a whole new cholla cactus. After the plant dies, a skeleton of "ventilated wood" remains in the desert. There are many different kinds of cholla in the Mojave Desert.
(More abouth the Cholla Cactus)

Drawing of Creosote BushThis large shrub has small, round leaves which look and feel oily or sticky. This coating called "lac", helps to keep water from being lost to the dry air. Indians used lac as glue. Mexicans called this plant, "little stinker".
(More abouth the Creosote Bush)

Drawing of Desert MallowThe mallow is common to roadsides and vacant lots. This plant has orange flowers and fuzzy leaves. The star-shaped hairs may get in your eyes if you handle the plant. That is why it is called the "sore-eye poppy". Photo of Desert Mallow

Drawing of Desert MarigoldThis common plant has inch wide yellow flowers. These flowers look like small sunflowers on tall stalks. The marigold's fuzzy leaves grow at its base.

Drawing of Indian PaintbrushThe flowers of this small colorful plant are barely visible. A "brush" of bright orange or red surrounds the tiny flowers. The top of the plant looks as if it has been dipped in paint.

Drawing of Prickly Pear CactusThere are many kinds of prickly pear cactus (nearly every state has a native species). Most can be recognized by flattened stems, called pads, that grow from joints. Indians would carefully scrape or burn off the spines and cook the pads for food. The egg-shaped fruits, called "tunas", can still be found in some grocery stores.
(More abouth the Prickly Pear Cactus)

Drawing of Rock NettleThis plant is found in dry, rocky places or on canyon walls in the desert. A rounded, bushy plant with stinging hairs and flowers, blooms from April to June. The flowers are cream or pale yellow in color. Do not pick the flowers -- the stinging hairs are vicious!

Drawing of Sacred DaturaThis plant is unusual for the desert. The datura is vinelike with large, grey-green leaves. The flowers look like large white trumpets, several inches long. It is sometimes called the "moon-lily", because the flowers open at night. This is when the Giant Sphinx Moth pollinates the flowers. It is also known as "jimson-weed" or "thornapple" because of its round, spiny seed pod. All parts of this plant are poisonous.

(More abouth the Sacred Datura)

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Beavertail cactus

Desert Plants
Desert Habitats

Cholla cactus

Prickly pear cactus

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