Of the three ‘hot’ deserts in the western US (Sonoran, Mohave and Chihuhuan), the Sonoran is considered the most botanically diverse. Never having been there before, I recently drove south to see it
Ancient giant saguaros, pockmarked with the old holes of nesting birds, are almost other-worldly. Agaves, from small to gigantic, form graceful, fat rosettes–many with dead flowering stalks still towering above them. Sprawling prickly pears and fuzzy-looking chollas catch the sun. Tall thin, spiny ocotillos wave in the breeze. An amazing variety of trees– palo verde, ironwood, mesquite and others thrive in the hot lowlands, while various oaks, junipers, sycamore, manzanita and much, much more grow at higher elevations.
All in all, it is an amazing landscape, full of plants of amazing form and variety. I had hoped to see a few more spring flowers, but the winter has been dry and there was little color. Yet the beauty of the Sonoran Desert (like any great landscape) does not depend on colorful flowers alone.