Raf var mexicana Presl L Benson Caprifoliaceae

In the desert, this big shrub or small tree generally grows with mesquites and willows in dense bosques, or floodplain woodlands. It can be found from western Texas to southern California, and far south into Mexico.

The leaves, divided into three to five saw-toothed leaflets, are distinctive, as are the broad, white-flowered inflorescences. Dozens, if not hundreds, of small flowers cluster together to make up this type of inflorescence, which is called a corymb. You might expect the pretty, delicate flowers to be sweet-scented; instead, their odor is somewhat fetid, like dirty socks. This is typical of fly-pollinated flowers. The corymb serves as a platform for flies and other insects, which, in scurrying across the cluster, pollinate the blossoms.

Desert elderberry blooms from March to June and bears its succulent blue-black berries in summer. Birds quickly denude the plants of fruits; humans who want to turn the berries into jellies, pies or wines must act quickly.

Soapberry

The soapberry hairstreak, a chocoiate-brown butterfly with delicate markings, frequents soapberry groves throughout the Southwest. During its flight period in late spring, this pretty butterfly often perches high in soapberry trees. The caterpillars eat only soapberry foliage. Adult butterflies time their emergence to coincide with the blossoming of soapberry flowers, their main source of nectar.

Soapberry can be a riparian tree forty or fifty feet tall. More often, you see it as copses of saplings along dry, sandy streambeds. The plants spread by underground rhizomes, and each copse is essentially a clone. Soapberry leaves are divided into a dozen or more lance-shaped leaflets. They look much like walnut leaves but have entire rather than toothed margins. The inconspicuous flowers produce berries about the size and color of garbanzo beans.

Ripening in summer and fall and often persisting on the trees throughout the winter, soapberries are rich in saponins, a class of compounds known for its medicinal and poisonous properties. In Mexico and the Southwest, native peoples have tossed crushed soapberries into streams to stupefy fish. They also macerated soapberries in water to make lather for washing clothes and hair.

Banana yucca

flower & buds

Berry Boosters

Berry Boosters

Acai, Maqui And Many Other Popular Berries That Will Change Your Life And Health. Berries have been demonstrated to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Each month or so it seems fresh research is being brought out and new berries are being exposed and analyzed for their health giving attributes.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment