Ruby Road, Arizona

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Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Last weekend I drove the Ruby Road which runs between Nogales and Arivaca, Arizona in Santa Cruz County. It is an area of wooded streamsides, grassy flats, and rocky slopes under rugged peaks.
Ruby Road 1.jpg
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Ruby Road 2.jpg
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I was only on the western part of the road, stopping to walk around at several areas from Sycamore Canyon under the edge of the Atascosa Mountains, to a little west of the ghost town of Ruby.
Ruby Road 4.jpg
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Ruby Road 5.jpg
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Here are some of the plants I saw:

Escobaria vivipera bisbeeana
E. vivipera 1.jpg
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E. vivipera 2.jpg
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Echinocereus rigidismus

E. rigidismus 3.jpg
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E. rigidismus 1.jpg
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E. rigidismus 2.jpg
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Opuntia santa-rita
O. santa-rita 1.jpg
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Agave palmeri
A. palmeri 1.jpg
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Yucca madrensis
Y. madrensis 1.jpg
Y. madrensis 1.jpg (112.79 KiB) Viewed 4896 times

More coming soon!
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ElieEstephane
Posts: 2909
Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:10 am
Location: Lebanon (zone 11a)

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by ElieEstephane »

Nice photos! The first echinocereus must have had quite a floral show
There are more cacti in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
One of the few cactus lovers in Lebanon (zone 11a) :mrgreen:
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DuarteDave
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Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:46 pm

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by DuarteDave »

Very nice.
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Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

I hadn't expected to see Ferocactus emoryi here, as I had never seen it listed as being in Santa Cruz County. But there is at least one small population here. I saw 10 or 12 plants all in the same general area.
Ruby Road 3.jpg
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I was really knocked out by the blood-red flowers on these.
F. emoryi 5.jpg
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F. emoryi 1.jpg
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There was a green spider on this one for contrast!
Green Spider 1.jpg
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This one looked good from one side, except for lost spines, probably from a long-ago fire.
F. emoryi 3.jpg
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On the other side though, rodents had gotten in. It may be doomed now. :(
F. emoryi 4.jpg
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I did find one young one, so a new generation is growing up to take its place.
F. emoryi 2.jpg
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hegar
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Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:04 am
Location: El Paso, Texas

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by hegar »

Hello Kenizona,
I was going to say the same thing Elie did, when I saw that first Echinocereus rigidissimus plant. It seems like it had 12 fruits on just that one stem! The environment there must be about perfect for a plant to produce that many big flowers.
I also admire the Ferocactus emoryi. If I were a little younger, I would definitely acquire at least one of these magnificent plants. Here in my neighborhood we only find the Ferocactus wislizenii, whose blossoms are not as eye-popping.
If I ever had to move from El Paso, I would most likely choose some location in Arizona. I do love the landscape and the cactus flora that does exist there. Those saguaro cacti are just so distinct!

Harald
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Kenizona
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Hello Elie and Harald,
You are right, that E. rigidismus must have put on quite a show. I wish I had been there to see it! Even one or two flowers are impressive from these.
Ferocactus wislizenii is also the most common barrel cactus in the Tucson area. The (usually) orange flowers are very nice, but the ones on F. emoryi are something else! I do love living in a place where so many different cactus-rich places are within an easy drive.
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Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

When I came out to the Ruby Road, there was one species in particular I was hoping to see. Coryphantha recurvata. The only place they are found in the U.S. is in this area, although they are more common further south in Sonora, Mexico. At the first location I stopped, where the F. emoryi are, I walked around a lot, finding other interesting things but no Coryphantha. And then...
C. recurvata 1.jpg
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One lone, but very healthy looking plant, recently finished flowering, and just starting to offset. At the next location I found none, but at the third stop I hit the jackpot!
C. recurvata 2.jpg
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C. recurvata 3.jpg
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C. recurvata 5.jpg
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Unfortunately, none had any open flowers, although some were close. There had been rain recently, perhaps that morning, and some clouds had moved in, so maybe they were braced for more rain.
C. recurvata 6.jpg
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C. recurvata 10.jpg
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I counted 27 heads on this one!
C. recurvata 4.jpg
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Some had dead heads, or were regrowing from a dead mass.
C. recurvata 8.jpg
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C. recuvata 7.jpg
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C. recurvata 12.jpg
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C. recurvata 11.jpg
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The most badly damaged plants were all on an exposed, south-facing slope, while those on the more sheltered north-facing slope had very few dead heads. Most likely, it was a long period of drought which did the damage. All the new growth looked healthy, so they seem to be recovering. And there were some young plants just getting started!
C. recurvata 9.jpg
C. recurvata 9.jpg (190.91 KiB) Viewed 4825 times

It was a very satisfying hunt for a species I had not seen in the wild before.
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ElieEstephane
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:10 am
Location: Lebanon (zone 11a)

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by ElieEstephane »

Amazing colonies! C. recurvata is my favorite coryphantha but i find them to be under represented in collections. Please keep posting if you have more photos/other locations.
Would you happen to post elsewhere (instagram, flickr, facebook...)?
There are more cacti in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
One of the few cactus lovers in Lebanon (zone 11a) :mrgreen:
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Aiko
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Location: the Netherlands

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Aiko »

Nice plants. How big where they? About the size of a fist?
keith
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Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:50 am
Location: S. CA USA

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by keith »

Nice area and nice pictures I never made it there but someday maybe I will

Interstate 10 and hwy 83 south of Tucson used to have a lot of Erectrocentrus I wonder if they are still there ? farther along there are Echinocereus and Mammillarias, and other kinds of Erectrocentrus.
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Kenizona
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Thanks! I really should have put something in at least some of the photos to show scale. They are bigger than I expected. The largest heads are about 7" (18cm) across.
I don't post elsewhere, but I do have another batch of photos from this location I'll put up soon. And I can post photos of other places I've been. Such as that I-10 and rte 83 area. The Echinomastus are still there!
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Kenizona
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Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Okay, here is the last batch of photos from this site. These are from a slightly higher area, very rocky and with more pinyon pines. Many of the same species were there.


Echinocereus rigidismus
E. rigidismus 6.jpg
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Opuntia santa-rita
O. santa-rita 2.jpg
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Coryphantha recurvata
C. recurvata 13.jpg
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And there were some new ones. There was a Claret-Cup Hedgehog, I think of the type called Echinocereus arizonicus nigrihorridispinus, also known as E. coccineus matudae. Classification of these is so confusing.
E. nigrihorridispinus 1.jpg
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E nigrihorridispinus 2.jpg
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Claret-Cup and Pancake.jpg
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Oh, and what's that on the tree root? Mammillaria heyderi macdougalii!
M. macdougalii 1.jpg
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These became quite common a little further along the road in a wooded streamside area.
M. macdougalii 2.jpg
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M. macdougalii 3.jpg
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M. macdougalii 4.jpg
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The largest were at least 7" (18cm) across, and they often grew in large groups.
M. Mcdougalii 5.jpg
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M. macdougalii 6.jpg
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M. macdougalii 7.jpg
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Right now they are swollen from summer rains, but when dry they shrink down into the soil. Covered with dry grass and dust some would be almost impossible to find.
M. macdougalii 8.jpg
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Here are a couple of babies alongside some Mammillaria grahamii. Down around Tucson M. grahamii is one of the most common cacti, but up here they are the rarity.
Pancake and Pincushion.jpg
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I had a lot of fun on this trip. It is a great place to visit for anyone who loves cacti, or just beautiful scenery!
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TimN
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Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona USA

Re: Ruby Road, Arizona

Post by TimN »

I don't think I've seen C. recurvata for sale much over the years. I got two of them from Miles in 2009 and they are doing well with half a dozen or so heads. The flowering window on my plants is pretty narrow, you see buds and a few days later you see spent flowers unless you pay attention.
Disclaimer: I'm in sunny Arizona, so any advice I give may not apply in your circumstances.

Tim
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