A Mexican Gold Poppy presents a striking contrast to a Queen Victoria Agave.

Ron Medvescek, Arizona Daily Star 2005


Sure the leaves have ferocious sharp tips, but juice from the mashed heads is distilled into mescal and tequila.

Mexican gold poppy

It refuses to put on a show unless we have adequate winter rain and at just the right time. But, oh, when it does bloom, it carpets the desert.

Velvet mesquite

The young of this native tree don't live up to the touch-me quality of their name. Older velvets have fewer thorns.


The seedlings of this symbol of our Sonoran Desert are so fragile that few survive a year. And they don't grow arms for 50 to 100 years.


This shrub's oil is actually a wax, and it's used both in cosmetics and as an industrial lubricant.

- Selected by Star staff