Aloe Collection The Wallace Collection contains 300 different types of Aloes. John Lavranos, an internationally known botanist, visited Wallace Desert Gardens in 2009 and proclaimed it the most accurately labeled and best displayed aloe collection he had ever encountered. Aloes put on a non-stop display of flowers starting as early as November and continuing well into the month of May.
In 2010, this collection was greatly enhanced by the acquisition of a substantial collection of Aloes from Jordan Mantz, a young Aloe enthusiast who was living in Apache Junction, Arizona at the time. Included were 43 species not previously represented in the collection plus many unusual hybrids he created.
Boojum Trees These strange looking trees were named after a creature in the Lewis Carroll poem “Hunting of the Snark.” The collection was grown from seeds collected in Baja California in the late 1970s. In Mexico they are called “cirio”, the Spanish word for candle, reflecting the Boojum’s narrow, conical shape. Summer flowers are white and fragrant and are found at the apex of the plants which can be over 60 feet above the ground. Seeds are generally harvested from late September through October.
Cactus Pavilion Collection This 6,000 square foot building is home to some of the collection’s most impressive plants, particularly many tall columnar cacti and other succulents that need protection from winter cold and/or shade from direct sunlight.
Desert Legume Collection Many of the trees and shrubs throughout Wallace Gardens were grown from seed and placed by the staff of the Desert Legume Program (DELEP), a joint program of Boyce Thompson Arboretum and the University of Arizona. Since 1991, over 200 species of legume trees and shrubs have been grown at Wallace Desert Gardens.
Echinopsis Collection Echinopsis is the botanical name for a genus of plants, many of which have the common name of Easter Lily Cactus because of the huge, colorful flowers they produce. Their spectacular flowers bloom at night and wilt by the following morning or early afternoon, never to reopen. The Echinopsis usually bloom in late April or early May but can vary depending upon the rain and temperature patterns from November through March.
Ephedra Collection Ephedra is an ancient plant genus, having existed for over 100 million years. They are more closely related to conifers (pine trees) than grasses, roses, or other flowering plants. This collection was acquired from Dr. Stefanie Ickert- Bond and may be the largest and most complete collection of New World Ephedra in the world. Locally known as Mormon Tea, Ephedra has been used medicinally by people across the globe for thousands of years.
Silk Floss Trees These trees fascinate all who encounter them. They could be considered a tree climber’s worst nightmare because their trunks are armed with wicked looking prickles (the proper botanical name for something that looks like an overgrown thorn on a rose bush). In November or December, they lose all of their leaves and are covered with huge white and pink, lily-like flowers, producing one of the most spectacular floral displays in the entire Wallace Collection.
Rose Garden Collection Roses are not native to arid environments, but they put on an amazing show when they bloom in the desert.