Spring bloom in the desert

About this time of year in Rochester, we are still early in the spring. However, in the Sonoran Desert spring bloom is almost over. One of the last plant species to bloom in the spring is the saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea. Rob Laport and Bob Minckley were in Tucson and surrounding areas from 25 April to 7 May doing field work and giving presentations at a conference (madreanconference.org/) that meets every 8 years to discuss science and management issues of the Sky Island region (=northwestern Chihuahuan and northeastern Sonoran Deserts).

During the visit, we took this picture. Saguaros flowers produce tremendous amounts of pollen and nectar at night that attract bats. What is left over is cleaned up the following morning by bees and white-winged doves (Zenaida asiatica). The bees in the picture are honey bees (Apis mellifera).