Salton Sea 2017 Part 9
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Salton Sea Road Trip March 2017 Part 9
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Arboretum Committee Field Trip (1 April 2017) Part 2
Borrego Springs Sunrise

Brittlebush & Hedgehog Cactus

Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) near Plum Canyon.

The common desert shrub called brittlebush (Encelia farinosa) is also called incienso because the stems were used as a source of incense. I have admired this beautiful desert shrub throughout my 40 year teaching career, but I never knew the exact source of the incense. I just assumed that the dried stems were burned. Since I became interested in ants several years ago, I occasionally noticed small droplets of amber-colored resin near the nests of harester ants. I always wondered where these resin droplets came from. While following honeypot ants on Superstition Mountain in January 2016, I noticed the unusual resin droplets under brittlebush. Then I noticed sticky resin droplets exuding from the stems. Finally, I realized that these golden yellow droplets were the source of the incense from brittlebush. Native Americans (Oodham & Seri) used the fresh sticky resin as glue, to hold points on arrows and harpoons. It was also used as a sealer for pottery vessels.

Sticky resin droplets exuded from the stems of brittlebush (white arrows).

Dried resin (right) collected under brittlebush on Superstition Mountain.

Hedgehog Cactus Near Plum Canyon

Engelmann's hedgehog cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii).

Young Desert Iguana In Borrego Valley

Young desert iguana at the base of Coyote Mountain.

Lake Henshaw After Winter Rains Of 2017

The amazing rains of winter 2017 filled Lake Henshaw and produced several ponds.