In today’s fast-paced and information overload environment, it can be helpful to occasionally stop and smell the roses. If people take the time to step outside, it becomes easy to recognize the numerous shrubs and trees surrounding the area. After seeing the same plants settled in the flowerbeds and street dividers, one has to ask, ‘What type of plant is this?’.

While the scorching hot weather has characterized Phoenix and most of the state, beautiful plants still thrive in these conditions. This feature story only showcases a small handful of the greenery in the Southwest desert.

A photo of a sidewalk aligned with trees. Taken on Feb. 27, 2024.

Palms trees are easy to notice with their tall stature and how they are usually planted in rows next to one another. This seems to be a Washingtonia robusta or Mexican Fan Palm. Their leaves are a wide fan shape that is dark green. This contrasts with the other palm species living in the area, which have long feather-like leaves.

A photo of the branches of a Velvet Ash tree. Taken on Feb. 28, 2024.

The Fraxinus velutina or Velvet Ash Tree is another plant in this area. This tree is just starting to grow back its leaves after the cold winter. Its leaflets can identify this species, usually in groups of three to five per stem. While small, the groups can be counted with a closer inspection of the photo. The other green clusters in the branches are the flower buds that will bloom when spring officially arrives.

A photo of Lantanas taken on Feb. 29, 2024.

The city must choose perennial flowers and other plants when constructing an area. This is because perennial flowers will die during the cold months but return in spring. They require little care and do not need to be regrown.

There are several resilient shrubs, like the Lantana. The flowers are a cluster of much smaller ones, like a miniature bouquet. This plant comes in various colors: purple, pink, red, yellow, and orange.

A photo of Blue Bells taken on Feb. 27, 2024.

Eremophila hygrophana, or Blue Bells, are gorgeous shrubs native to Western Australia. Their flowers are purple, and the leaves are a greyish-green color.

A photo of Rosemary flowers taken on Feb. 27, 2024.

Rosemary is a shrub well known for its medicinal value. They also sprout small light blue flowers.

These plants are just a tiny percentage of the vast species that can grow in the state’s Southwest. Learning more about the greenery makes it easier to appreciate them.