Through at least Fall 2021, all Chapter activities will continue to take place virtually via Zoom. Our virtual events will be announced at least 2 weeks in advance to our email list subscribers. To join our email list, please contact email@example.com.
Chapter Meeting: Maricopa Native Seed Library – Thursday, September 30th at 7:00 PM
Fall is the perfect time to plant wildflower seeds. So, join us to learn more about a local, FREE source for seeds! We’ll begin the meeting with Chapter announcements and business. Then, we’ll have a presentation about the Maricopa Native Seed Library by its founder, Danielle Carlock.
The Maricopa Native Seed Library provides free native seed to the community as well as a variety of resources to inspire and equip residents to create habitat at home. In this presentation, Danielle will discuss why and how the seed library was founded. Successes and challenges of the first year will be highlighted as well as advice for those interested in a similar project. Danielle will also share what’s coming next for their second year and how to use the seed library.
This event will take place via Zoom. Please register to join us in our virtual meeting space.
Our events are open to Chapter members as well as the general public, unless stated otherwise. If you’re interested in becoming a Chapter member, please view the Membership page. Yearly membership is just $30 for individuals, $15 for students, and $35 for families.
Book Discussion: A Sand County Almanac – Sunday, October 24th at 7:00 PM
This event will take place via Zoom, hosted by the Arizona Master Naturalists. Please register to receive the virtual meeting link.
View the AZNPS Events Calendar to learn about upcoming events hosted by other Chapters throughout the state. Also, recordings of many past events are available to watch on the AZNPS YouTube page.
2021 Arizona Botany Meeting
Save the dates for this year’s Arizona Botany Meeting! This virtual event will take place November 8-10th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM each evening via Zoom. The theme is Arizona Native Plants to the Extreme: Exploring the Botanical Diversity, Ecology, Adaptability, and Resilience of Arizona’s Native Flora in an Era of Environmental Change. Registration details coming soon.
We are currently accepting abstracts for oral presentations and posters. Please see the submission details for more information. Deadline is September 15th.
Follow the AZNPS Phoenix Chapter’s Facebook page for more information about local native plants news, research, and events!
We also invite you to follow our Chapter on Instagram and use the hashtag #aznativeplants to help us raise awareness of Arizona’s amazing native plants!
Seeking native plants to use in landscaping?
Native Landscaping Plants
Fall is the ideal time to add native plants to your yard or patio!
If you would like to learn which plants are native to our area, we invite you to view our Chapter’s List of Recommended Native Landscaping Plants (draft version). It highlights plants that are: 1) native to the Phoenix metro area, 2) beneficial to wildlife, 3) low-water-use, 4) relatively easy to care for, and 5) generally available at local nurseries or seed suppliers.
Our Chapter President’s Top 20 Native Landscaping Plants for Metro Phoenix are presented in a webinar recording.
We’ve compiled a list of metro Phoenix nurseries that generally offer a selection of native plants. Some have more variety than others, and inventory changes frequently or may be seasonal. So, it is best to inquire with a few nurseries by phone or email to determine which one suits your needs. Due to precautionary measures currently in place, please contact a nursery directly to determine if they have special operating hours or procedures.
In addition, several local organizations hold plant sale fundraisers in the Spring and Fall. Please see the list below for upcoming events. We’ll update this announcement when any additional local plant sales take place.
Audubon Southwest will have a Native Plant Sale at the Walk for the Wild/Urban Wildlife Conservation Day celebration at Rio Salado Restoration Area, 2439 S. Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004. October 9th from 8:00-11:00 AM (Reservation required for entry)
Monsoon season and fall are terrific times to add wildflower seeds to your landscape, assuming it rains! For a wide variety of Arizona native plant seeds, we recommend the following sources:
Maricopa Native Seed Library – This new local project offers native seeds for free! Similar in format to other seed libraries, the public may obtain up to 3 seed packets per month. Available at several Maricopa Community Colleges libraries.
If you feel there’s a local nursery, native plant fundraiser, or seed supplier we should add to our list, please let us know!
Additional Chapter Announcements
Invasive Species Alert: Fountain Grass
Fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) is a popular landscaping plant, but a dangerous invasive weed. Its seeds easily spread and invade roadsides, washes, and natural areas. As a result, Fountain grass pushes out native plants and wildlife, disrupts water flow and availability, and increases the risk and severity of wildfires. Therefore, it was listed as an Arizona noxious weed in early 2020 and is no longer sold by the nursery trade.
The Arizona Native Plant Society, along with several partners, created an informational pamphlet to help the community learn how to identify and control Fountain grass. Please download, read, and share this important information with others!
Fountain grass is a popular landscaping plant, but a dangerous invasive weed. If you have it in your landscape, please remove it.
To help prevent wildfires in our public lands, do not drive over dry grass, do not smoke in vegetated areas, and do not use fireworks. Also, take extra care to obey additional fire restrictions and notices that are in place.
An iNaturalist project focused on plants found in urban environments. There are also monthly EcoQuest challenges that focus on certain species. Add your photo observations to the project. Or, if plant identification is your superpower, help to ID what others saw!
Visit one of six local libraries loaning out citizen science tools and supplies.
Announcing Plant Press Arizona!
Posted on Aug 20, 2021
The Society’s bi-annual publication has a new name! To distinguish itself as a source for local botanical information, The Plant Press is now known as Plant Press Arizona.
The latest issue is available to view and download for free from our website. Read about herbarium buried treasures, penstemons of Arizona, the Maricopa Native Seed Library, and native plants of Hermosillo (with articles in Spanish & English).
The Summer 2021 edition of Happenings, the Arizona Native Plant Society’s quarterly newsletter, is now available. Take a look for information from around the state about upcoming virtual meetings, our fountain grass awareness campaign, the 2021 Botany Conference, and a recap of recent activities.
Plant Profile: Desert Ironwood
Posted on May 31, 2021
Guardian of the Desert
By Kathleen M. McCoy, Master Naturalist, AZNPS Phoenix Chapter Member
What thorny, long lived, slow-growing giant can nurture a wide range of plants, provide roosts for birds, and produce protein-rich seeds for animals? The Desert ironwood (Olneya tesota) can do all the above and more!
A member of the Leguminosae family, Desert ironwood’s natural boundaries correspond closely with those of the Sonoran Desert. Additional names for this endemic tree within the U.S./Mexico borderlands include Ironwood, Palo Fierro, and Palo de Hierro, and Tèsota.
Commonly found in washes and hillside drainages, Ironwoods thrive in warm areas below 3,000 feet. The Ironwood Forest National Monument, located 25 miles northwest of Tucson, was established in June 2000 and provides protection for one of the richest areas of Ironwood trees.
Ironwood trees strongly influence the distribution and quantity of hundreds of wildlife species by functioning as a “nurse plant” and a “keystone species.” Canopies of mature trees provide microenvironments advantageous to understory plants, with winter temperatures several degrees warmer than open areas. In addition to protecting seeds and seedlings from extreme cold, Ironwoods also provide safety from radiation and predation.
The perennial Ironwood can remain as a many stemmed, 6-feet high spiny shrub, or erect and spreading with a low canopy with a thick trunk reaching 30 feet or more. This semi-deciduous native tree is covered with grayish-green leaves that endlessly drop and regrow throughout the year. At the base of each leaf are excruciatingly sharp, slightly curved paired spines. The piercing thorns and low canopy protect small reptiles and desert mammals from larger prey and provide forage, cover, and nesting sites.
As one of the tallest trees in the desert scrub, with a potential life span of 800 years, its canopy is used by nearly 150 bird species. Local and migrating birds, such as endangered cactus ferruginous pygmy-owls, build nests in Ironwoods. Hawks and owls often use bare branches as perches and roosts.
In April and May, small pale lavender or purple flowers blanket the tree, but only for about two weeks. Ironwood flowers and fruit may occur in most years, but are abundant only four years per decade. Native bees are commonly attracted to the flowers. After pollination, ironwoods produce slightly curved, knobby pods containing up to eight shiny dark brown hard-shelled seeds. These are an important food source for native fauna in early summer.
The Ironwood is also beneficial to humans and was widely used as food by the Cahuilla, Mohave, Papago, Pima, and Seri indigenous people. The peanut or soy flavored seeds were eaten either raw, dry roasted, or ground for flour. Roasted seeds have been used as a substitute for coffee beans.
The tree’s wood has social and economic impact as well. The name “Ironwood” refers to the hard, heavy heartwood so dense it cannot float. The trunk is highly resistant to rotting, and may remain intact up to 1600 years. Wood was used for fuel, as well as for making various kinds of tools and implements like digging sticks and shovels. Ironwood also added to the aesthetic of daily life by providing wood for weaving frames, musical instruments, and the beautiful carvings of the Seri.