A magnificent desert shrub, when in full bloom, but strangely forbidding in aspect in spite of its beauty. Its many stiff stems, from six to twenty feet tall, entirely without branches, stand up stiffly from the root, like a bunch of wands, and are armed their whole length with terrible thorns, which in the spring are masked with beautiful foliage, like little apple leaves. From the tip of each wand springs a glorious cluster, from six to ten inches long, composed of hundreds of scarlet flowers, each about an inch long, and crowded closely together, suggesting a flame and waving to and fro in the wind with a startling effect against the pale desert sand. When the flowers and leaves are gone, the clumps of dry, thorny sticks look quite dead and it is hard to believe that they were so splendid early in the season. They make an impenetrable fence and are much used by the Indians for hedges.

Fleming Sword Fouquiera splendens

Fleming Sword-Fouquiera splendens. VIOLET FAMILY. Violaceae.