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HERE’S SOME STUFF I picked up during a hike through an oak-pine-juniper forest community high above the desert here in southwestern New Mexico. Ruth and I climbed to about 7200 feet on this walk into the Gila Wilderness. I’m basically clueless on western botany, in large part owing to the time I devote to chasing birds and insects out here (or because of all the time I spend staring into space).

I’ll take a little crowd-sourcing help on my identifications, which I’ll admit could be garbage. (Hard to make out in this image is a ruler I’ve added near the top.) The easy ID was the Canyon Maple (Acer grandidentatum), which has a spotty distribution in western mountain habitats — a gift wherever we find it. This maple might be a subspecies of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum). In any event, we’re grateful for the fall foliage — a watermelon red we don’t often see in the East.

  1. Katherine says:

    Bryan, I think you are right about the Gambel oaks. Nothing else in that region that I know of looks like that.

    Check out this cool site for more on the botany of the Gila:

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