Southwestern Deserts

May, 2006
Regional Report

Web Finds

Bat Conservation International
Sadly, bats are often feared. However, according to Bat Conservation International, just one human death per year in the U.S. can be attributed to bat rabies, while dog attacks, playground equipment, and sports are more frequent causes of death. Bats are an essential part of nature's pest control, able to consume up to 1,200 insects per hour! They eat mosquitoes (carriers of West Nile virus) as well as agricultural pests, such as cucumber beetles. The Web site provides all kinds of info on these intriguing mammals, including their value to the environment, directions for adding bat houses, and curriculum for educators.

Favorite or New Plant

Argentine Giant
The common name of Echinopsis candicans (recently reclassified from Trichocereus candicans) refers to this Argentine native's giant flowers, which are the size of salad -- sometimes dinner -- plates! Its fragrant white flowers are night bloomers, so place the plant where you can enjoy them. The cactus grows 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with a sprawling habit. It prefers protection from hot afternoon sun and is cold hardy to 10 degrees F. A spot beneath a tree canopy's filtered light would be ideal.

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