Mesilla Valley, Pre-Monsoon Edition

Returning home from a hike and relaxing lunch, I stopped at our local state park to see it in warmer weather than my last visit.

Locals say in the 1980s this was farms or vacant, abused land.

Salix exigua / Coyote Willow lines the banks of the Rio Grande.

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Some areas away from the river are Atriplex and other saline soil-tolerant plants, plus invasive species that are not easy to eradicate. Other areas have been restored, the native revegetation efforts taking over the weeds – cottonwoods in scattered groves, seepwillows, and sacaton grasses included.

Anemopsis californica / Yerba de Mansa is the star out front, with lush but minty foliage and white flowers beckoning butterflies. Of course it has gentle healing properties, too.

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Prosopis pubescens / Screwbean Mesquite is coming back, whose abundance is a sign of a healthy riparian area in the Chihuahuan Desert.

 

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The entry to the visitor’s center is part of a young allee of that oft-forgotten riparian native, Juglans major / Arizona Walnut.

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And those nicely-carved canales, to drain this roof once it rains again.

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