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Thursday, April 4, 2013

A storm of seeds


RIO SALADO HABITAT RESTORATION AREA
Downtown Phoenix
Cottonwood seeds in irrigation channel

Like ephemeral misty extras in a fantasy film, a matinee of billowy white cottonwood seeds are now playing in downtown Phoenix.  If you've ever watched movies that feature elves, forest faeries or warring factions of sword-wielding gladiators, then you may have noticed how Hollywood likes to use  mood-enhancing showers of airborne white stuff (seeds, snow, ash) to build drama while tickling trees and mythical characters alike.  That's what it looks like right now along desert waterways where the seeds of female cottonwood trees are  bursting free and hitching rides on air currents before settling into lofty drifts among blooming shrubs. The easy trails of Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project offer quick, barrier-free access to this annual natural event which runs through mid-April.
Seed drifts beneath mesquite trees

LENGTH:
To 19th Ave:  2.0 miles one way
To 7th Ave 0.8 miles
To 12th Ave scenic overlook: 1.2 miles one way
Basic stroll on paved surfaces: 0.5 mile one way
ELEVATION:  1050' - 1070'
RATING: easy, paved, partially barrier-free
DOGS: allowed but leash & waste pick-up laws are strictly enforced to protect the habitat

HOURS:  sunrise to sunset (or 7 pm, whichever comes first)
GETTING THERE:
There are several access points.  The cottonswoods are best at the Central Ave location at 2439 S. Central Ave. Phoenix.
INFO: City of Phoenix, 602-262-6863
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