Sunday, November 15, 2015


Iconic Ragged Top mountain, where the only native southern Arizona desert bighorn sheep reside, presides over the Friends of Ironwood Forest's Meet the Monument event in the Ironwood Forest National Monument outside Tucson yesterday.  The 189,000 acre Monument created in 2000, includes 8 mountain ranges.

This very old ironwood tree proves its importance as a nurse tree to the saguaro cactus, in particular the three here that each are likely over one hundred years old.  We can conclude this ironwood tree is much older.  Some ironwood trees on the monument are considered to be around 900 years old.  The ironwood is slow-growing with a dense wood used by First Americans and birds, insects, and mammals.  The leguminous seed pods are a favorite food for native wildlife.  Over 500 species of plants and animals are dependent on the ironwood tree.

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