Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yield to Brittlebush

If suburban sprawl has you worried that central Arizona may one day be completely overtaken by pavement, just remember that the life contained in Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) seeds is far mightier than the Arizona Department of Transportation.  Able to sink roots into any gap in sidewalk, oblivious to vehicle exhaust and blossoming in the driest locations, Brittlebush will surely pioneer the restoration of this desert after the last drop of oil has been burned.
I joined this specimen thriving on an island in the middle of a round-about at Happy Valley Road and the I-17 yesterday, to document its life amidst the chaos of evening commuter traffic. I've been watching this plant grow for months, relieved each time I passed by that some ADOT crew hadn't doused it with herbicide or snatched it up by the roots. Now she is on her way to producing seed, and if all goes well, the island will be well populated by her progeny next spring!

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