The Arizona Uplands subdivision of the Sonoran Desert is defined by having full sized trees in the uplands, as well as high diversity in structure and species. It is well vegetated and sees more moisture than other subdivisions, but also generally has longer and harder freezes. Abundant trees include Parkinsonia microphyllum and P. florida. Prosopis velutina and Olneya tesota are also common. Saguaros almost always occur in this subdivision as well as a variety of cactus, shrubs and sub-shrubs.
Sonoran Desert - AZ Uplands
A floristic account is provided for the cactus family as part of the vascular plant flora of the contiguous protected areas of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and the Tinajas Altas Region in the heart of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. The modern native cactus flora includes 35 taxa in 12 genera, plus 2 non-native prickly- pears that are not established in the flora area.
Photo of a Nichol Turk's Head Cactus in the Waterman Mountains in Arizona.
Some ranchers get convinced tilling of the desert soils will result in more forage for their cows. Needless to say in a desert environment this does not work. It may promote some extra grass for 1 or or 2 years max, but after that forage is reduced. The natural soil ecosystem is disrupted harming all vegetation including those plants cattle feed on. Roots of plants are torn up and worst of all the soil is exposed leading to desication and quicker drying, the best way to kill desert plants.
This deformity effects many cactus and is fairly rare.
Cows in the dry Sonoran Desert often must resort to eating cactus, including the famously painful jumping cholla. Seeing cattle in Sonora with cholla balls on their face or prickly pear spines sticking out of their lips and mouth is not uncommon.