I did three nature walks in Palm Springs, the first of which at Coachella Valley Preserve. This is the Colorado Desert, in California, near Palm Springs, two hours east of Los Angeles. I picked a course that included two fan palm oases. The California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) is the only palm native to this desert.
The tree is widely used in California's horticulture and landscaping along with the Baja native, Washingtonia robusta.
"California fan palm is one of the hardiest and most massive palm trees in the world. Mature specimens can reach 80 feet with trunks that are 3 to 4 feet across..." (source)As you can see, I've included a Minnesotan for scale.
In stark contrast to the surrounding dry desert area (we're getting there soon), the floor of the oasis at the park entrance was quite swampy.
A boardwalk guides you through it.
The shade of the oasis is almost total.
One abhors dead palm fronds in cultivated landscapes, but they seemed a vital part of the whole in the natural landscape.
"Dead fronds are held indefinitely, and create palm's characteristic gray-brown skirt. In urban areas, palm skirts have a reputation for harboring roof rats and other unwanted creatures. While this is true, palm skirts also provide housing for desirable wildlife, including owls. The skirt of dead fronds may be removed if care is taken not to damage the trunk." (source)Note: Removing palm fronds is potentially serious business.
Moving away from the oasis, palms give way to tall grasses and desert scrub.
I don't know what species of grass this is.
But those ladies are admiring a great ocotillo (Fouquieria sp.):
At length we approach the second oasis.
Come back soon and we'll visit Tahquitz and Palm Canyons, both amazing places.
In the meantime, enjoy a little piece of desert sky.