Ok, at long last it became time for me to return to my native land, that wondefull place of mountains and sand dunes and plants that have no leave. So we flew out to Arizona to visit my dad and other family and friends. So, we begin with this fine specimin above. Pay close attention east coasters, this is a Saquaro Cactus, symbol of Arizona, the Sonoran Desert, and the American Southwest. This majestic plant only grows in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, northern Mexico and a very small part of southeastern California. They can grow to over 40 feet tall and 10 feet wide, though they don't grow their first "arm" until they are 75 years old. They have an internal skeleton covered by a soft fleshy skin, covered in protective spines. The large white blossoms on top open in the cool night and then close up as the day heats up. Below are some shots of a bird (Cactus Wren, I think) finding a meal in a one of the Saquaro flowers.
Here are some wild Sunflowers found by the side of the highway. Notice how in the wild they are much smaller than the more familiar domesticated variety.