Calling @karensocal

RosemaryDW

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Newport Coast, CA
Dang, @KarenSoCal, we in the desert this weekend to see wildflowers and there sure plenty in bloon after our rainy season.

We were in Anza Borrego, so the other side of you but some of the same plants. I had a couple I couldn’t figure out and it was making me nuts. I was able to determineout using a field guide when I got home but the other had no blooms, darnit.

The higher we hiked, the closer this plant was to blooming but we gave out before the trail did. I finally realized the leaves and branches looked very familar leaves and got home to correctly I identify them as desert cosmos. They’ll be beautiful when they get around to blooming. :/
 

KarenSoCal

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Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Dang, @KarenSoCal, we in the desert this weekend to see wildflowers and there sure plenty in bloon after our rainy season.

We were in Anza Borrego, so the other side of you but some of the same plants. I had a couple I couldn’t figure out and it was making me nuts. I was able to determineout using a field guide when I got home but the other had no blooms, darnit.

The higher we hiked, the closer this plant was to blooming but we gave out before the trail did. I finally realized the leaves and branches looked very familar leaves and got home to correctly I identify them as desert cosmos. They’ll be beautiful when they get around to blooming. :/
Oh, what a gorgeous hike you must have had! I looked up Desert Cosmos and it certainly is a beautiful flower.

When I read about the different flowers, I am always a bit disheartened when I see that they grow at higher elevations. We are 200 feet BELOW sea level here!

I think I have identified most of what is growing here. I have been cutting up some stuff and adding it to Chug's food in hopes of him learning to graze. The only thing he eats that's growing in his enclosure is grass. I don't think he recognizes weeds as food. Helpful for them growing, but not good for trying to cut down on grocery items. Thankfully I found escarole...it is not always available here.

I have "nettleleaf goosefoot" growing...high in Ca, but also high in oxylates. I think I will not cut it up and teach him to eat it, but if he eats it on his own I won't panic. Or I could boil it...supposedly that removes the oxylates. Somehow I don't see that happening...
 

RosemaryDW

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Newport Coast, CA
Re' the wildflowers...officials had to close Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore on Sunday. There were so many people it was hazardous to walk.

Yes, we heard. I had hoped we might make it there as well but clearly they can’t handle the crowds.
 

RosemaryDW

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When I read about the different flowers, I am always a bit disheartened when I see that they grow at higher elevations. We are 200 feet BELOW sea level here!

That would make me sad as well. Do you have a native nursery near you? You might get some advice on what will actually grow that is also attractive. It sure wasn’t easy for us to find natives and our weather is no where as extreme as yours. Do you see anything growing on the side of the road? Torn up places can be good places for plants to pop up that you might like. Oh, and what about tacoma stans? That’s a native desert tortoise plant. It’s usually a shrub but we’ve got it trained to a wall. Our Russian will eat the flowers and after several years the leaves as well. It’s quite pretty when it flowers but I don’t know about your area.

“karensocal” said:
I have "nettleleaf goosefoot" growing...high in Ca, but also high in oxylates. I think I will not cut it up and teach him to eat it, but if he eats it on his own I won't panic. Or I could boil it...supposedly that removes the oxylates. Somehow I don't see that happening...

Honestly, I don’t worry about things in the amaranth family, which that plant is in. Lots of people feed lambsquarters, which is in the same family. Now whether he likes it, I don’t know. Mine isn’t a huge fan of anything in that family (so far!) but will take a few bites so I offer them occasionally. Oxalates are not the monsters we often see written about. In a varied diet, they are fine. Perhaps if a tortoise gets little else to eat and not enough to drink, that’s problematic. But that isn’t the case for Chug.
 

KarenSoCal

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Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
That would make me sad as well. Do you have a native nursery near you? You might get some advice on what will actually grow that is also attractive. It sure wasn’t easy for us to find natives and our weather is no where as extreme as yours. Do you see anything growing on the side of the road? Torn up places can be good places for plants to pop up that you might like. Oh, and what about tacoma stans? That’s a native desert tortoise plant. It’s usually a shrub but we’ve got it trained to a wall. Our Russian will eat the flowers and after several years the leaves as well. It’s quite pretty when it flowers but I don’t know about your area.

There are a few nurseries in Indio, and a little one in Brawley. I like that one because the owner has some knowledge of what tortoises can and cannot eat. He said I wasn't the first to come in asking for tortoise plants! I would never rely on what he says, but he is concerned and tries. I've bought a couple plants from him, but not for Chug.

We have more greenery here this year than I've seen in the 10 years we've been here. We actually have weeds! I've been trying to learn them, and cutting some for Chug.

I have a tacoma stans in his enclosure, but I think it might be dying. Leaves are turning brown from the edges, yet there is new growth. Our soil here is awful. Just sand and stones and shells, and some nutritionally lacking dirt. A plant has to be tough to survive here.


Honestly, I don’t worry about things in the amaranth family, which that plant is in. Lots of people feed lambsquarters, which is in the same family. Now whether he likes it, I don’t know. Mine isn’t a huge fan of anything in that family (so far!) but will take a few bites so I offer them occasionally. Oxalates are not the monsters we often see written about. In a varied diet, they are fine. Perhaps if a tortoise gets little else to eat and not enough to drink, that’s problematic. But that isn’t the case for Chug.

Thank you for this info. As I said before, all he wants that's growing is grass. I've had to work at getting him to eat dandelion and mustard leaves, even though he loves those greens when I buy them at the store. Honestly, I think if he was abandoned in the desert he would starve! LOL!
 
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