Ancient Plants of the Southwest


“Discovering The Ancients”

Presented as part of

The Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Fall Gratitude Gathering

~ Open House and Native Plant Sale ~

November 12th | 9 am – 2 pm

 A Presentation by Robin Kobaly | Exec. Director of

The SummerTree Institute

  • Saturday, November 12, 2016

  • Presentation 11 am

  • Mojave Desert Land Trust Headquarters

    Many of our desert native plants are hundreds to thousands of years old — true ancients across our landscape.


    60124 29 Palms Highway, Joshua Tree, CA 92252

    Many of our desert plants live much longer than us. Learn about some of our incredibly old native plants, how to estimate their age, and how ancient history has been recorded in their tissues. Find out why they grow so old, and how their remarkable adaptations allow them to survive for hundreds to even thousands of years.

    Robin will reveal the incredible ages of the long-lived native plants of the southwest, using samples of local ancient plants to explore how desert plants and their mycorrhizal root partners contribute to the stability of their community, and demonstrate how to estimate the age of native plants in our region and surrounding mountains.

    Using both interpretive displays and members of the audience itself, Robin will demonstrate how trees (and our long-lived, tree-like shrubs such as California Juniper, etc.) grow and add on girth, bark, and annual growth rings…which help us to determine their age. Participants will help form ever-expanding rings around the core of a “tree” made of people, including bark, food tubes (phloem), water tubes (xylem), or heartwood (the strength and trash-can for the tree).

    Participants will find out how annual growth rings form, the difference between fast-growing, light-colored rings and slow-growing, dark rings, and how paying attention to these rings reveals the story of the tree’s history, from the droughts it has endured to the good times it has enjoyed (rain!!!). Robin will describe how to count tree rings to determine age, and demonstrate how the study of tree rings has helped us recreate climatic history and even rewrite human history. She will also show samples of wood from both forests and deserts to compare the differences in growth rate and size (people are always amazed to find out how old our desert plants are compared to much larger, but much younger, towering forest trees).

    Robin will also discuss how these ancient survivors can enhance your own landscape for many decades to come, introducing local ancient plants that you can incorporate into your yard not just for your enjoyment, but for future generations of humans, native songbirds, and wildlife. Learn how you can become part of the solution by contributing to an attractive, environmentally sustainable landscape – right in your own yard!

    This event is hosted by the Mojave Desert Land Trust. For more information, visit,  call MDLT at (760) 366-5440, or call The SummerTree Institute at (760) 363-7229.


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