I was helping out with the elementary program on 10/23, and had the great fortune of spending some quality plant time with Debbie Bird, who made the positive i.d. of the new-to-me plant, taught me about several other plants, and pointed out a Sonoran Whipsnake, a Wilson's warbler, and a host of other attractions, including Marty Horowitz. I dragged Marty over to the new plant, and he took the photos you see here.
|All Photos by Marty Horowitz 10/23/2014|
The plant is a vine (note the tendrils) and is growing in among the Wild Cotton in the riparian area above the dam. In this photo, you can contrast the Balsam Apple leaf in the foreground (bright green), with the Wild Cotton (Gossypium thurberi) leaves in the background. There are also developing wild cotton fruits (the round, non-spiny balls) in this photo on the far right.
Here's the dried and opened fruit of Balsam Apple. Note the two chambers. And note how strange and scary it looks!
You may be saying: "Anne, this plant looks a lot like Big Root (Marah gilensis)." (page 71 in A Naturalist's Guide to Sabino Canyon, 2nd edition) And, yes, that's what I thought it was, initially. They are in the same family, but Big Root blooms in the spring, and Balsam Apple in the fall. Now you know! Isn't that exciting!