Sonoran Desert Ecoregion
This will be our new series and I am so excited! In traditional “old ways” witchcraft (or living in general), it was the number one rule to know about everything in your natural living environment. This means you knew about the plants and how to use them, the rocks and how to use them, the climate, the animals, and everything within your region. This is how the old craft functioned. There are so many ecoregions in North America and I hope to cover all of them! I will go over how the land was historically used, climate, native species (plants, animals, bugs), geology, etc. Most will be links to resources.
Check out this link and let me know what eco region you live in so I can cover yours next.
Since I live in the Sonoran Desert, I will do that one first.
The pic above is a picture I took of Superstition Mountain in Apache Junction.
And that’s a picture of what people call a bush here. Even though it’s technically a cactus.
Historic Uses of the Sonoran Desert
((It’s important to learn the historical uses of anywhere you live to avoid appropriating other cultures by the ways they use the native plants/ecosystem. Example: there are about 900 species of sage - which species grow in your area, which ones are sacred species, how was that species used historically, which ones are ones you can use according to your culture/practice without appropriating another cultures usage, etc. (side note: sage isn’t the only example it’s just the biggest controversially used plant right now) Further you should know who lived in your area before you did, what they did, what they practiced, what they believed in, etc. I have no reason for that other than it promotes self education, which further promotes compassion and understanding for traditions that still exist. You never know how wrong school taught history, especially native american history, until you do your own reading))
Overview of Native Americans in the Sonoran Desert
Akimel O’otham (Pima) Culture
More Extensive Read of Akimel O’otham Culture & Traditions
Cocopa Links (use the links on the website)
Quechan (Yuma) Links (use the links)
Halchidhoma Links (links)
Maricopa Links (links)
Rocks and Crystals
Rocks, Gems, and Crystals in the Desert
Animals, Reptiles, Birds, and Bugs
The Sonoran Desert has about 60 mammal species, more than 350 birds, 20 amphibians, about 100 reptiles, and 30 species of fish.
Here’s a decent list of some of those animals
A Bird List
Reptiles and Amphibians
More Reptiles and Amphibians (we have more of these than we do mammals or fish.)
Bugs (scorpions are an actual issue that should not exist.)
The Sonoran Desert has more than 2000 plant species.
Common Plants Guide
Tree Guide, Reference Tree Guide
Shrubs/Bushes, more shrubs/bushes/short plants
Vines (most of these probably aren’t native to the sonoran desert)
Flowers, more flowers
Overview of all plants and animals in this location
The Sonoran Desert is the hottest desert in North America. Research sites will say that summer temperatures can be between 99 - 102 degrees, but that is an averaged number. Summers typically range from about 95 - 118 degrees (also an averaged number), and winters range from 86 - 39 degrees. It never gets very cold here. When I was researching I found that most websites categorize the Sonoran Desert under two seasons - winter, which goes from December to January, and Monsoon season, which goes from about June to September.
During any season, it’s not uncommon to see temperatures drop over 50 degrees before or after a sudden storm or once the sun goes down.
It rains an average of 3 - 15 inches per year. Fun fact, just one rain storm can produce more than half of the years rainfall.
We don’t get many storms here either. We have a small list of storms - dust storms, monsoons, downbursts, and “gustnadoes”.
Dust storms are the most common. In our dust storms, wind can exceed 40 miles per hour and a dust wall can be higher than 3,000 feet. Here’s an example of a dust storm in the Sonoran Desert,
It doesn’t look like much, but here’s what it would look like once you hit the storm while driving -
(the wind knocked a whole ass semi over). This is pretty rare, usually we only get a dust storm//haboob that strong about once a year. Here’s what a regular dust storm looks like (we get these year round)
The next most common “storm” would be a gustnado. We just call them dust devils and they are completely harmless despite what websites say. Kids here like to stand directly in the middle of these (at least they did when I was in school) because their winds are strong enough to push you around, but not strong enough to make you fly away (most times). They can be super small with low winds and minimal dirt, or they can be pretty wide with higher winds and a lot of dirt. They are mostly common on farms or any open dirt lot, I haven’t seen them anywhere else.
Next we have downburst, or microbursts. These are kind of like invisible reverse tornadoes. They are localized pockets of downdraft winds that can be pretty damaging. They usually only effect a 2.5 mile radius and the intensity varies. They are completely random and invisible too, so you don’t know when they’re coming. If you’re right in the center of a microburst your roof can completely cave in, but if you’re on the outskirts then you might just get a wave of fast wind.
Monsoon is just a season of more wind and rain. Typically the majority of the years rain will happen during monsoon season. Usually there will be thunderstorms, rain, and more dust.
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