Like other riparian trees of the desert, velvet ash is NOT adapted to
an arid climate at all since the leaves have no mechanisms to prevent water
loss. If the roots did not have access to permanent moisture, the trees
would quickly die.
This stream-side habitat represents a final retreat for velvet ash and
certain other riparian trees. Several million years ago, during the
Tertiary epoch, the region's climate was substantially moister than now.
Velvet ash, Fremont cottonwood, netleaf hackberry and Arizona sycamore
belonged to a great deciduous forest that blanketed the valleys and hills.
Now, forced to survive under extreme conditions, velvet ash is restricted to
riversides and stream-beds.
This photo was taken along the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail north of Sedona, Arizona.
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