Desert palm oases

The California desert fan palm (Washingtonia filifera) exists only in small palm oases in the southwest US and Baja California. Tens of thousands of years ago, these palms were likely abundant and widespread across the southwest during a much wetter period. Today, the tree survives only in small isolated patches in the desert where tectonic activity has permitted there to be standing water. Oases like this one, tucked away in the canyons of the southwest, give us clues to what the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts might have looked like in the past.

The fan palm flowers attracting honey bees.

A desert fan palm beginning to produce flowers.