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Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
 
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Leafless plant during winter

General: Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata) are robust, twiggy shrubs almost always found along washes. The species is deciduous, but even without leaves, this twiggy shrub with angular joints and spiny tips is recognizable.

Desert Almond is a common component of wash communities in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.

Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Twigs at widely diverging angles

Family: Rose (Rosaceae).

Other names: Desert Peach

Plant Form: A widely branched shrub growing in clumps and thickets along the rocky washes.

Height: Usually grows 3-5 feet tall (to 6 feet).

Bark: Gray

Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Western Tent Caterpillar Moths (Malacosoma californicum fragile) lay their eggs in Desert Almonds

Stems: Many branches; short and rigid, occurring at widely diverging angles, with a spiny tip.

Leaves: Narrow (1-3 mm wide), 1/3 to 1/2 inch long, and entire; grouped in clusters on short lateral branchlets (i.e., fasciculated).

Flowers: Flowers during spring. Flowers are small, white to yellowish; grow from leaf axils.

Fruit and Seeds: Fruit resembles a small, fuzzy peach; about 1/2 inch long; covered with dense, brown hairs. Seed surrounded by a thin, dry pulp.

Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Ripe fruits

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils along washes; occasionally found away from washes on rocky hillsides.

Elevation: Generally 3,000 to 6,500.

Distribution: Utah to Baja California

Comments: This is one of the species most often seen along washes around Las Vegas.

Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Desert Almond along a desert wash
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata) Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Fasciculated leaves
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Fasciculated leaves
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata) Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata) Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Developing fruits
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Ripening fruits
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Seeds eaten by rodents
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Seeds eaten by rodents
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Western Tent Caterpillar Moths (Malacosoma californicum fragile)
Desert Almond (Prunus fasciculata)
Western Tent Caterpillar Moths (Malacosoma californicum fragile)

 
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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 121018

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