Monday, November 30, 2009

We're Not In Payson Anymore

Mazatzal Wilderness Area
In the language of the Aztecs, mazatzal means "an area inhabited by deer". We saw a lot of interesting flora and fauna, but no deer. Regardless, I'm sure they abound.

Looking into beautiful, and copper-rich, Barnhardt Canyon.

Agave toumeyana, found only in the Central Mountains of Arizona (except for one tucked under a Live Oak, Quercus turbinella, in the front yard of our house).

Agave toumeyana accompanies a Claret Cup Cactus, or Echinocereus triglochidiatus (funny thing is, we have a thriving Claret Cup under that same Live Oak?!?!)

Palmers Century Plant, or Agave palmeri
The predominant agave of Central Arizona.

And again...

Close-up of the rosette. Note the "ghost leaf" impressions left behind by subsequent, newer growth.

Chihuahua Pine, or Pinus leiophylla var. chihuahuana "Ocote blanco"
Similar in form to Ponderosa Pine, but with much shorter needles (grouped in 3s) and bark that blackens with maturity. The Mazatzal Mountains represent a northern extreme for this species found primarily in the Sierra Madre Mountains and Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico.

Pringle Manzanita, or Arctostaphylos pringlei

Recent fire activity has appeared to allow these manzanitas, normally a understory plant, to grow taller and more erect. And the leaves appear especially large, perhaps due to the pruning affect of the fire?

The fearsome teeth of the Mazatzals.

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