Desert a whole year has passed without any measurable rainfall; and, exposed to the intense heat and aridity, no vegetation can live except thorny cacti, the creosote bush, mesquite, palo verde, and arrow-weed. In the Mohave Desert are weird groves of tree yuccas covering many square miles. Along the Colorado River, in the eastern portion of Imperial and Riverside counties, there is a large early flow from mesquite. In elevation the land ranges from 250 feet below sea level to 10,978 feet above the sea at San Jacinto Park. On the east border of Riverside County lies the Palo Verde Valley, where 90,000 acres can be watered from the Colorado River, and 37,000 are under intensive cultivation. In 1920 the principal crop of the valley was short-staple cotton, of which 20,000 acres were grown. The acreage of alfalfa in the county was 35,000 acres; and of oranges, lemons, and apricots there were many thousand acres.
Inyo County, which comprises 10,294 square miles of rugged mountains, deserts, and fertile valleys, lies east of the Sierra Nevada Range. Owens River Valley, which is 199 miles long and 6 to 20 miles wide, is the agricultural section of the county. The rainfall is about 6 inches, and there are no fogs. Wild buckwheat grows all along the foothills of the valley. About five miles from, Independence there is a wild-buckwheat range where large crops of honey have been secured. “A crop of honey,” says Richter, “is practically always assured at high altitudes where there are honey-producing plants present.” A surplus is usually obtained every year from this plant; but sheep pastured in the national-forest areas are very destructive to the flower buds. The area around Bishop is the largest in the county available for alfalfa, and consequently for beekeeping. Alfalfa honey is as white here as in Nevada, where conditions are very similar. Sweet clover yields nectar until frost, while in the lower valleys it usually dries up in July and August. This county is the great comb-honey district of California, for, owing to the dryness of the atmosphere, the honey is so thick that extracting is almost impossible. The valley is, moreover, at an elevation of 4000 feet, and the cold nights and cool days also tend to thicken the honey. On the other hand, in the Imperial Valley it is so hot that comb honey can not be successfully produced. Inyo County has reported 6000 colonies of bees, and an annual production of 300,000 pounds of honey. The Muth-Rasmussen apiary a few years ago contained 300 colonies.