SONORAN DESERT is a North American desert which covers a large part of the South – western United States in Arizona and California and of North-western Mexico in Sonora, Baja California and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico, with an area of 280,000sq.km. The western portion of the United States passes through the Sonoran Desert.
In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic Province of the MADREAN REGION in south-western North America, part of the HOLARCTIC KINGDOM of the northern Western Hemispheres.
Many plants not only survive, but thrive in the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert. Many have evolved to have specialized adaptations to the desert climate. The Sonoran Desert’s bi-seasonal rainfall pattern results in more plant species than any other desert in the world. The Sonoran Desert includes plant genera and species from the Agave family, Palm family, Cactus family, Legume family and numerous others.
The Sonoran Desert is the only place in the world where the famous SAGUARO CACTUS grows. CHOLLA, beavertail, hedgehog, fish hook, prickly pear, night-blooming cereus and organ pipe are other “taxa” of cacti found here. Cactus provides food and homes to many desert mammals and birds, with showy flowers in reds, pinks, yellows and whites, blooming most commonly from late March through June, depending on the species and seasonal temperatures.
The California Fan Palm is found in the Colorado Desert section of the Sonoran desert, the only native palm in California, among many other introduced ARECACEAE genre and species. It is found at spring-fed oases, such as in ANZA BORREGO Desert Park, Joshua Tree National Park and the KOFA National Wildlife Refuge.
The Sonoran Desert is recognized as a exceptional birding area within the US. 41% of all terrestrial bird species found in the US can be seen here during some part of the year. Roadrunner (distinguished by its preference for running over flying as it hunts scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes and lizards) is also found here.