Sonoran Desert - Central Gulf Coast

Central Gulf Coast sub-division of the Sonoran Desert

The Central Gulf Coast sub-division of the Sonoran Desert exists in west-central Sonora (as well as eastern Baja California) and hugs areas near the coastline. In Sonora it exists from just south of Guaymas to the coastline west of Caborca and generally extends to about 50 to 80 kilometers from the coastline.

It is extremely arid at less than 5" per year. It has even more sporadic rainfall than much of the Sonoran Desert, but occasionally receives downpours in the fall from hurricane remnants.

Dew and moist ocean air is part of what defines and helps this community to exist. Due to the irregularity of rainfall many of the plants in this region are succulents, which soak up as much moisture as they can when times are good, so as to withstand the inevitably long and hot dry seasons.

The most common and obvious species are the cardón (Pachycereus pringlei), which is the largest columnar cactus in the world, as well as the elephant tree (Bursera microphylla). Other common plants include palo verde, ocotillo, ironwood, brittlebush, organ pipe, and various Jatropha species. Another well known plant is the boojum (fouquieria columnaris), a strange upside down carrot shaped relative of the ocotillo. The boojum occurs primarily in Baja, but also in Sonora in a small mountain range south of Puerto Libertad.

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