December 22, 2012

12/6/12 - Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP

Last year I bought an annual pass to Arizona State Parks.  It's due to expire soon, so before it did we headed out to Superior to visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park.

In the early 20th century, financial magnate* Boyce Thompson built a desert arboretum below his house. 

Rich people name their homes--this Castle on the Hill was called "Picket Post House" after a nearby mountain.  I don't know how the mountain got its name...
The plant collection consists of plants from Arizona, of course, plus arid places all over the world.  There are quite a few plants from Australia--with funky names like "Wichetty bush" (otherwise not a particularly impressive plant).

"River Bushwillow" isn't very descriptive for a tree with a unique knobby trunk.  You'd think those creative Australians would have come up with something better.

My favorite is the "Boojum tree", which came from Baja California.  The tall one below was 10' tall when it was planted in 1927.  The one in the blue shirt isn't quite that old.

Crow's Claw Cactus
Adjectives for cacti never include "beautiful"--except for the blossoms.  December isn't bloom time.  We saw exactly one cactus with a flower, AND it was labeled!

Ayer Lake was created to supply water to the arboretum.  Apparently it's a great place for birding.  All we saw was a couple of coots.
*Please note:  I have never had occasion to use the word "magnate" in a sentence before now.  Apparently I don't know the right people.
Be sure to look for the animal benches that are scattered around the park--I like the horned toad best but I don't think it would be very comfortable to sit on.