Long-Term Drought and Near-Term Heat Wave Take Toll on Arizona’s Desert Ecology

Frank Reichenbacher worries it will soon be over for his Tumamoc globeberry — a rare Sonoran desert vine that features a fruit that looks like a tiny watermelon and tastes like dirt.

For 41 years, Reichenbacher, an associate researcher at the University of Arizona’s Tumamoc Desert Lab, has followed the same three patches of the rare plants in southern Arizona — including one on Tucson’s Tumamoc Hill.