Arizona Sycamores in Autumn

Sycamore in Autumn

Arizona Sycamore in Autumn © 2012 Bo Mackison

I live in the desert, but I am only a fifteen minute drive from one of the Sky Islands, the Santa Rita Mountains. And in the riparian area of the Madera Canyon the sycamores are still dressed in their autumn colors.

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon ©2012 Bo Mackison

Arizona sycamores grow in riparian habitats. In Arizona, these habitats bordering a river or other waterway make up only  one percent of the total land area. Yet these narrow strips along streams and canyon bottoms hold the greatest diversity of plants and animals of any habitat type. Birds and wildlife flock to these areas. Large numbers of plants live in these corridors that cannot survive in the more arid lands.

Madera Canyon

Red and Green in the Riparian Corridor ©2012 Bo Mackison

Riparian areas are often seen as green ribbons in the landscape. But in autumn, they take on a different character, a mix of green and red. The leaves are already falling though. Soon the riparian areas will return to their more typical green.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She has returned to her winter home in the Sonoran Desert and is already exploring her favorite places.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I can remember my first time seeing autumnal sycamores in Arizona. My jaw dropped. They are stunning. Such happiness for you being in that magical place, this wonderful time! LOVE the photos! XO

    • Bo Mackison says:

      You have it exactly, Debi. These sycamores in their autumn dress ARE simply stunning. I am glad I can share their beauty with you.

  2. Such beautiful photos. Breathtaking. I also enjoyed reading about riparian areas. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Beautiful photos! I had nearly forgotten the beauty of those sycamores.

    Have you ever visited Ramsey Canyon and the Arizona Folklore Preserve? I heard that Dolan Ellis, Arizona’s Official State Balladeer still performs there occasionally. I started seeing his shows and enjoying his music in the early 70’s when he performed regularly in Scottsdale. He is certainly part of the Arizona heritage.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thank you, Montucky.

      I haven’t been to Ramsey Canyon, but it is on my very long list of places to still go. And thanks for the info on Dolan Ellis — I’ll check him out.

  4. stunning. great colors.

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