Arizonensis --> Sonoran Desert Naturalist --> Sonoran Desert Places --> Lookout Mountain, Phoenix
Wild Flower Report ¦ Field Trip Reports ¦ Mammals ¦ Birds ¦ Cacti ¦ Shrubs and Trees
Lookout Mountain, one of the smaller units of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, is south of Greenway Rd. and west of Cave Creek Road. There are trailheads from the north at 16th Street and from the southeast at Lookout Mountain Park. As the name implies, the slopes are rather precipitous and the summit offers nice views of the city scapes below.
Much of this mountain is composed of the remains of volcanic eruptions that occurred late in the Tertiary Period, some 25 MYBP.
A large water storage tank embedded on the north flank is apparently leaking some water as evidenced by the large shrubs growing nearby.
Adapted from Phoenix Parks & Rec. Map.
Trail south from the 16th Street trailhead. From this trailhead one can either hike straight up to the summit or else take a perimeter hike. About 300 meters west of the trailhead, the hiker will pass through a small desert wash where the Foothill Palo Verdes are larger and many play host to dense mistletoe plants. The mistletoe were beginning to bloom, putting forth a very sweet fragrance. About half way up the summit trail there is a little spur on the east with a broad open lookout area. Near this spot I found several large Desert Lavender in full bloom. The gray-green foliage has a pungent sage aroma. Lichens and mosses can be found growing upon old volcanic lava and pyroclastic flow around the north face of the summit.
At the top of the Mountain there was a pair of Harris' Antelope Squirrels. These might have been anticipating handouts of junk food from hikers. Two Rock Wrens sang and bobbed from boulder top perches.
More common species listed first:
Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) Photo by Mike Plagens.
|In order of Abundance:
Compass Barrel Cactus (Ferrocactus acanthodes). Photo by Mike Plagens.
In order of Abundance:
Saguaro Cactus damaged by naked apes throwing rocks. Photo by Mike Plagens.
Following close to three months of much wetter than usual weather this mountain like the rest of the Desert Southwest is green and colorful. Blazing yellow Brittlebush provide the most conspicuous color, but there are orange fiddlenecks, blue phacelias and white popcorn flower. With warm weather the peak flowering will quickly pass here but the traveler can expect lingering blooms for a month or more here and well into June in the higher elevations.
The desert habitat was very dry and nearly devoid of any sign of fresh growth or flowers. The mistletoe supported by Palo Verdes in the washes were beginning to bloom, putting forth a very sweet fragrance. About half way up the summit trail there is a little spur on the east with a broad open lookout area. Near this spot I found several large Desert Lavender in full bloom. Then near the summit I found a single Desert Tobacco with two greenish-white flowers.
Month Name Only : no flowers. no live plants.
: usually no or very few blooms open
: a few scattered blooms likely to be seen
: quite a few blooms likely to be seen, depending on past rainfall
: abundant blooms dependent on favorable rainfall
|Common Name||Scientific name||Color||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|Red-stemmed Fillaree||Erodium cicutarium||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct|
|Texas Filaree||Erodium texanum||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|Coastal Bird's-foot Trefoil||Lotus salsuginosus||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|Orange Fiddleneck||Amsinckia intermedia||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|Desert Lavender||Hyptis emoryi|
|Arch-nutted Comb Bur||Pectocarya recurvata||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct|
|Triangle-leaf Bursage||Ambrosia deltoidea|
|London Rocket (weed)||Sisymbrium irio||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|Meditteranean Grass||Schismus barbatus||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
|Brittle Bush||Encelia farinosa|
|Desert Mistletoe||Phoradendron californicum|
|Lance-leaf Ditaxis||Argythamnia lanceolata|
|Notch-leaved Phacelia||Phacelia ambigua||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|Sweet Bush||Bebbia juncea|
|Creosote Bush||Larrea tridentata|
|Indianwheat; Woolly Plantain||Plantago insularis||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|American Wild Carrot||Daucus pusillus||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov|
|Torrey Eucrypta||Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Open|
|Common Name||Scientific name||Flower||Jan||Feb||Mar||Apr||May||Jun||Jul||Aug||Sep||Oct||Nov||Dec|
Sonoran Desert Naturalist