Photographed on a dry ledge adjacent to Sycamore Creek,
Mazatzal Mountains, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 16 May 2010.
LEAVES: Oval, evergreen leaves are thick and tough and often have a
grayish cast to them.
SHRUB: A medium to large-sized shrub with light gray, tough,
intricate branches. Plant regrow readily after brush fires. Typical plants are
about two meters tall.
UNARMED. Even without thorns a hiker's attempts to push through will be
repulsed by the stiff twigs.
RANGE: Desert Ceanothus grows in the highest elevations of the Sonoran
Desert as it merges with chaparral where it is often a dominant plant. In
sycamore woodlands it occurs mostly on adjacent slopes, drier than bottomlands.
FRUIT: The fruits become hard, brown capsules as they mature about
8 mm in diameter.
FLOWERS: Blooming in early spring with small white flowers; five petals with narrow attachments
to the flower base. They are clumped into many-flowered clusters making the whole shrub very showy.
Rhamnaceae -- Buckthorn Family