As John Steinbeck described Baja in his log taken from his travels throughout the Sea of Cortez, “From where we waded there was a fine picture, still reflecting water and the fringing green mangroves against the burnt red-brown of the distant mountains, all like some fantastic Dore´ drawing of a pressed and embattled heaven.”
Baja California forms part of the Sonoran desert and, in following, its terrain is a harsh, arid botanical environment. The Baja California Desert ecoregion ranges over the western side of the peninsula and most of Baja California Sur and Norte. With its mountain ranges and extensive stretches of coastal dunes, Baja California also presents a range in elevation and environments.
The flora of the area contends with low humidity that is hardly shocking as the peninsula receives only 250mm of rain per year on average; the higher temperatures of the area also greatly effect the air and the soil. Strong winds that frequently traverse the landscape also contribute to further erosion of the low-mineral soils.
Despite its more severe environment, Baja California boasts of around 4,000 plant species, 700 of which are endemic. The majority of the botanical life is comprised of xeric scrub which are generally divided into subcategories according to the ecological conditions and elevation they favor. While Baja’s desert landscape may never be lush and green, there’s an indescribable beauty to its brassy exposure, its barbarous creatures that both warn and and flower, and its dry air so easily filled with mirage.