Crucifixion Thorn

Crucifixion Thorn Introduction


Welcome! Let me tell you about the Crucifixion Thorn, which is a plant that lives in the Sonoran Desert. The Crucifixion Thorn is a shrub, or small tree, with many thick, rigid, sharp branches that look like giant thorns! It lives in dry, rocky, desert washes, slopes, and plains. The Crucifixion Thorn does not eat like you may think, its spikes sit in the hot sun all day long, soaking up the sunlight. It uses that sunlight to perform photosynthesis, which is when the sunlight is turned into oxygen and nutrients that feed the plant. The Crucifixion Thorn is tall, sharp, and spiky. Its branches are darker than its stems. It has a blueish gray and green color and produces reddish-brown flowers with seeds-this is fruit! Now it is your turn to learn more about the Crucifixion Thorn! So go ahead, Sonoran Desert Explorer, read, check out the activities, and take the quiz! Happy learning!


I am a shrub, or a small tree that has no leaves.  Instead I have thick, rigid, sharp branches which allow me to soak up all the sun and turn the sunlight into food for me to eat.  I am a plant, but I don’t look like a very friendly one because of my long, thorny spikes.

I live in the Sonoran Desert of of far Southwestern Arizona and far southeastern California.  I even live in Baja, California, and Sonora, Mexico.  I live in dry, rocky desert washes, slopes, and plains from 500 to 2,000 feet.  I like the heat, and my home is most comfortable to me when it is dry, dry, dry!  


I use my twigs to eat.  My twigs on my spikes sit in the hot, hot sun all day long.  They soak up all the sunlight and then I turn it into food for me to eat!  I can’t get up and walk around, so I have to wait for my food to come to me.  That is why a sunny, hot day in my home is a happy day!.

Some people say that I look tall, spiky, sharp, and scary! I can be blue-ish gray, or a darker gray and green. My branches are either lighter or darker than my stems.   If you get too close to me, one of my spikes might poke you, but I promise I am not mean!  I have reddish-brown, five-petaled flowers that are less than ½ inch wide and they bloom in the early spring and summer.  I also have clusters of reddish-brown seeds-this is fruit!  they hang down in long groups of five.  The seeds on my fruit may persist for several years!


The seeds from my fruit hang down from me for many years.  After a long time these seeds will fall to the ground.  Sometimes my seeds are carried away by birds or by strong winds, which makes my job even easier!  My seeds may fall down or may be carried to the ground, but that does not mean that they will germinate.  In fact, many of my seeds never become new crucifixion thorns like me.  My crucifixion thorn family is very small.  I have heard some people say that our numbers are getting dangerously low.  Hopefully the people and wildlife around us will protect us so that we can keep living the desert life!
FUN FACT ABOUT ME?                                                                                                                                                

I can grow to be up to ten feet tall! Talk about one tall Crucifixion Thorn!


Kindergarten: Find a picture of the Crucifixion Thorn on the Internet.  Print the picture and show it to your teacher and parents.  Tell them about all the cool facts you learned about the Crucifixion Thorn today!

1st & 2nd Grade: Use the Internet to find three images: one picture of the crucifixion thorn, one picture of the environment that it lives in, and one of what/how it eats.  Print your pictures off the computer and paste them onto a piece of paper.  Now you have made your very own crucifixion thorn habitat!

3rd Grade: On a piece of paper, write down the answers to the following questions: Have you ever seen a crucifixion thorn before?  Is the crucifixion thorn dangerous to animals and people?  Using descriptive words, explain what the crucifixion thorn looks like.  How do you think you could spot a crucifixion thorn in the desert?  


Desert USA
DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover fascinating details about how plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment.