As you explore Red Rock Canyon, keep an eye out for catclaw (Acacia greggii). This shrub-like tree, with heights reaching six to ten feet tall, has small green leaves and recurved thorns on its branches that easily catch any clothing or skin of unsuspecting hikers. In late spring and early summer, you can find catclaw in bloom; it will be covered with small cream-yellow flowers in a bristle-like formations. The flowers attract many pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, wasps, and flies. Once pollinated, the flowers form long pea-like fruit pods. Look for catclaw along washes where it can tap its roots deep underground and disperse seeds during flash flood storms. Occasionally you can find mistletoe infestations on these plants.

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