So it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve taken the day off to look for green in the desert. Our desert green is a rather pale shade compared to most places, and at this time of year it is usurped by all the wildflowers seeking attention – and most of them are yellow - many known as DYCs (damn yellow composite – check the Wikipedia reference for DYC flowers). Today, I went back to the Babad Do’ag trail which is just uphill from the Catalina Highway observation and parking lot for Babad Do’og – otherwise know in English as the Tohono O’odham translation for “Frog Mountain”.
This time of year the trail is a great showcase of brittlebush flowers (yes – yellow, with a wonderful orange center and a base of pale green leaves). The flowers are from the Encelia farinosa, or brittlebush, which is a common desert shrub of northwestern Mexico through California and the southwestern United States. Its common name comes from the brittleness of its stems. The trail is on the way up to Mt Lemmon and has a great variety of flowers, views of the Tucson valley, and an easy trail with no one on it. I did a few sketches from the shade of a scrawny mesquite tree with lots of saguaros, brittle brush flowers, bee balm flowers, and an isolated purple flower that I have not yet identified. There was no Irish green here, but a great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in the desert.
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