Upside Down Tree

October 10, 2019


October 2019 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Jim Denton 
Summary Authors: Jim Denton; Jim Foster

The Mojave Desert is a harsh environment for trees. Seeds need to find a niche to grow here. Often a bit more elevation, a bit more shade, and/or a bit more water. But once a tree has a foothold, it has an amazing capacity to cope with environmental stresses, including high heat and low water. This tree, rooted on a nearly vertical north-facing slope at the top of an overhang, has been growing down rather than up. It’s thus able to almost totally avoid direct sunlight, except for a few hours a day in the morning. Near the summer solstice, however, it’s exposed to sunlight several hours a day. So, during the majority of the year, it depends on reflected light from barren rock slopes and what diffuse light it can get from its slight exposure to the northern sky. Photo taken on January 16, 2019.