Monday, April 5, 2010

The lupines are blooming... Arizona. I went for a guided wildflower walk yesterday in Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, outside Carefree. Not only lupine but the whole palette of desert wildflowers were blooming.

Naturalist Edwin Way Teale came up with one of the great big-picture observation, that spring moves north across the continent about fifteen miles per day. Let's do the math.

It's April 5. The trademark lupines along Highway 61 bloom in late June, as I've observed in this blog. According to Google Map calculator, it's 1415 miles from Carefree AZ to Beaver Bay MN. But we're as much west here as we are south (gee, that's why they call it the "Southwest"). For the Teale analysis, we're about 900 miles south.

900 miles at 15 miles a day. That would take 60 days. Which would put the Highway 61 lupines blooming June 1. It's been a freaky early spring on the North Shore, but not that early. Teale's observation is within range, however. It would have been ten or twelve miles a day instead of fifteen.

I love big broad natural history patterns! It's true, I am a nature dork.

So spring wildflowers are down here in Arizona and I can promise you they're coming north. When will the cactus bloom in Minnesota?


Anonymous said...

Somebody was on Venture North
last night's segment of Two Minute

Anonymous said...

Did you know there are cacti in the north country? There's a little Opuntia (fragilis, I think)that folks used to bring us to identify. Mostly from over in the Rainy River country, but a few from the BWCA/Quetico, although we never found it growing.