Scene in the Sonoran

Science Friday hits the desert trail to take in some springtime sights.

This week we’re broadcasting from Phoenix, Arizona, a city on the northen edge of the 100,000-square-mile Sonoran Desert. In the first hour, we’re talking with our guests about some of the lesser-known life in the desert, from Gila monsters to soil-dwelling microbes. To prep for the show, we took a day trip to the Lost Dog Wash Trail, part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, on the outskirts of Phoenix. The desert was in full bloom. Here’s some of what we saw. [Photos by Annette Heist and Christopher Intagliata]

Related Segment

The Secret Life of the Sonoran Desert

Graham’s nipple cactus (Mammillaria grahamii)


Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)


Desert globe mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)


Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)


Cholla with bird’s nest


Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)


Mexican gold poppy (Eschscholzia californica ssp mexicana)


Cacti in situ


Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata)


Teddy bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) in foreground


Fiddleneck (Amsinckia menziesii)


Buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa)


Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)


Saguaro detail


Meet the Writer

About Annette Heist

Annette Heist is a former senior producer for Science Friday.