But generally the low grounds are parched and rocky, presenting only a few thickets of Peruvian cactus and stunted shrubs, and a most uninviting shore.
The olive indeed in all ages clothed the hills of a large part of the country; but the orange and lemon, are a late importation from the East, while the cactus or Indian fig and the aloe, both of them so conspicuous on the shores of southern Italy, as well as of the Riviera of Genoa, are of Mexican origin, and consequently could not have been introduced earlier than the 16th century.
Watson, Cactus Culture for Amateurs; R.
But the strip of coast between the Apennines and the sea, known as the Riviera of Genoa, is not only extremely favourable to the growth of olives, but produces oranges and lemons in abundance, while even the aloe, the cactus and the palm flourish in many places.
Poplars grow in the valleys, and the cactus and sage brush are common.
This terminates in a long spike thickly studded with white blossoms. The grass-tree gives as distinct a character to an Australian picture as the agave and cactus do to the Mexican landscape.
The variation is from dwarf mountain pine to giant cactus and dates.
In places the giant cactus grows in groves, attaining a height of 40 and even 50 ft.
Some of its characteristic mammals and birds are the long-eared desert fox, four-toed kangaroo rats, Sonoran pocket mice, big-eared and tiny white-haired bats, road runner, cactus wren, canyon wren, desert thrashers, hooded oriole, black-throated desert sparrow, Texas night-hawk and Gambels quail.
Near the Cordillera and on its lower slopes a tall branched cactus is met with, and there are Salicornias and Salsolas near the coast.