Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Share info and Pictures about gardens, parks, nurseries, and other locations with cacti.
Post Reply
User avatar
Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

I just took a trip out to the Chiricahua National Monument in the southeastern corner of Arizona. Mostly I was there to hike around in the strange rock formations. There were some nice plants there too, so I thought I would share some photos.

It rises up from grasslands through dry, rocky slopes and wooded canyons, to areas of weirdly eroded rhyolite.
CNM 1.jpg
CNM 1.jpg (150.12 KiB) Viewed 4150 times
CNM 4.jpg
CNM 4.jpg (196.95 KiB) Viewed 4150 times
CNM 7.jpg
CNM 7.jpg (196.24 KiB) Viewed 4150 times

There were Yucca baccata in some of the most exposed areas.
Y. baccata CNM 1.jpg
Y. baccata CNM 1.jpg (220.77 KiB) Viewed 4150 times
Y. baccata CNM 2.jpg
Y. baccata CNM 2.jpg (123.39 KiB) Viewed 4150 times

These large black and orange leaf-footed bugs were often gathered on the huge yucca fruits, drinking the sap I assume.
Y. baccata CNM 3.jpg
Y. baccata CNM 3.jpg (66.37 KiB) Viewed 4150 times

In the canyon bottoms and more wooded areas Yucca madrensis was more common.
Y. madrensis CNM 1.jpg
Y. madrensis CNM 1.jpg (200.91 KiB) Viewed 4150 times
Y. madrensis CNM 3.jpg
Y. madrensis CNM 3.jpg (167.03 KiB) Viewed 4150 times

The Y. baccata were smaller than I have seen elsewhere, but the Y. madrensis were often very large. that is a 44" (112cm) hiking pole for scale.
Y. madrensis CNM 2.jpg
Y. madrensis CNM 2.jpg (218.82 KiB) Viewed 4150 times
User avatar
Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Part 2

The most common agave was A. palmeri.
A. palmeri CNM 1.jpg
A. palmeri CNM 1.jpg (200.56 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
A. palmeri CNM 2.jpg
A. palmeri CNM 2.jpg (174.57 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

With Dasylirion wheeleri.
A. palmeri CNM 3.jpg
A. palmeri CNM 3.jpg (160.66 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

A. palmeri, Y madrensis, and D. wheeleri all together.
Aga_Yuc_Das.jpg
Aga_Yuc_Das.jpg (190.46 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

In the highest elevation wooded areas Agave parryi made an appearance.
A parryi CNM 1.jpg
A parryi CNM 1.jpg (164.67 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
A parryi CNM 2.jpg
A parryi CNM 2.jpg (184.86 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

There were Opuntia engelmannii. At least I think that's what they are. I am terrible at identifying Opuntias.
O. engelmannii CNM 1.jpg
O. engelmannii CNM 1.jpg (191 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
O. engelmannii CNM 2.jpg
O. engelmannii CNM 2.jpg (164.13 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
O. engelmannii CNM 3.jpg
O. engelmannii CNM 3.jpg (155.01 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

And one nice O. macrocentra. That one I can recognize.
O. macrocentra CNM 1.jpg
O. macrocentra CNM 1.jpg (164.27 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
User avatar
Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Part 3

For hedgehogs, there were lots of Echinocereus arizonicus nigrihorridispinus claret cups.
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 5.jpg
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 5.jpg (213.69 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 4.jpg
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 4.jpg (167.6 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

They showed a lot of variation in width and height of the stems, and color of spines. Some really had the 'horrible black spines' they were named for.
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 1.jpg
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 1.jpg (155.01 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Others not so much.
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 3.jpg
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 3.jpg (166.2 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 2.jpg
E. nigrihorridispinus CNM 2.jpg (153.57 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

There were also some E. rigidismus.
E. rigidismus CNM 1.jpg
E. rigidismus CNM 1.jpg (186.05 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Including this impressive family group.
E. rigidismus CNM 2.jpg
E. rigidismus CNM 2.jpg (206.17 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Ball-point pen for scale.
E. rigidismus CNM 3.jpg
E. rigidismus CNM 3.jpg (145.97 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
User avatar
Kenizona
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:43 am
Location: Tucson, AZ

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Part 4

I never did see any Mammillaria wrightii wilcoxii or Mammillaria heyderi bullingtoniana which grow in this area and I was watching for. But the scenery and geology did not disappoint!
CNM 5.jpg
CNM 5.jpg (165.68 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
CNM 3.jpg
CNM 3.jpg (177.42 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
CNM 2.jpg
CNM 2.jpg (209.46 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
CNM 6.jpg
CNM 6.jpg (118.21 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Big Balancing Rock
Big Balancing Rock.jpg
Big Balancing Rock.jpg (127.19 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Punch and Judy
Punch and Judy.jpg
Punch and Judy.jpg (73.25 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Cochise Head Mountain
Cochise Head.jpg
Cochise Head.jpg (119.41 KiB) Viewed 4148 times

Altogether another fun outing!
User avatar
hegar
Posts: 4596
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:04 am
Location: El Paso, Texas

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by hegar »

Hello Kenizona,
thank you for posting those nice images of the Arizona cactus and succulent world. I also enjoyed looking at the photos of the geological formations. That big balancing rock is quite impressive. If I were walking near it, I would most likely tread lightly and hardly breathe. :)
Of the plants I especially liked the Agave parryi and of course the Echinocereus arizonicus-nigrihorridispinus claret cup cactus with the long, dark spines. What color does that cactus blossom have? Does the flower also last for about one week and stay open day and night as the claret cup that grows in my area (E. coccineus)?

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

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by Kenizona »

Hello Harald,

I like those Agave parryi a lot also. The are sometimes planted in landscaping around Tucson. When they bloom, the red flower buds giving way to bright yellow flowers can be a very impressive sight.

The Echinocereus arizonicus nigrihorridispinus has a bright red to orange-red flower, much like other claret cups. I don't know how long they last, but I would expect it to be similar to E. coccineus. In fact, it is sometimes classified as E. coccineus matudae. As I understand it, the main reason for separating them is that E. arizonicus is diploid (two sets of chromosomes), while E. coccineus is tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes). I am no expert on these, and am just trying to learn how to recognize the different forms, and figure out what is the best name to call them!

Ken
User avatar
TimN
Posts: 3442
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona USA

Re: Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Post by TimN »

I went there a couple of years ago when I was traveling from Dallas to Phoenix. There was snow all over the ground then, so I think it's safe to assume all the pictured plants are frost-hardy to some degree.

It's an interesting spot, you can't really see the rocks until you get into the park.
Disclaimer: I'm in sunny Arizona, so any advice I give may not apply in your circumstances.

Tim
Post Reply