The Sonoran Desert (Spanish: Desierto de Sonora) is a North American desert and ecoregion that covers large parts of the southwestern United States (in Arizona and California), as well as Sonora in northwestern Mexico in, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is the hottest desert in Mexico. It has an area of 260,000 square kilometers (100,000 sq mi).
In phytogeography, the Sonoran Desert is within the Sonoran Floristic province of the Madrean Region of southwestern North America, part of the Holarctic realm of the northern Western Hemisphere. The desert contains a variety of unique endemic plants and animals, notably, the saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) and organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi).
The Sonoran Desert is clearly distinct from nearby deserts (e.g., the Great Basin, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts) because it provides subtropical warmth in winter and two seasons of rainfall (in contrast, for example, to the Mojave's dry summers and cold winters). This creates an extreme contrast between aridity and moisture.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sonoran Desert", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.