2009
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Rock Daisy
January/February

      Rock daisy is one of the most dependable bloomers that grow in the desert in and around the Death Valley area below an elevation of 5000 feet. Most often growing at the base of rocks by the side of a wash, even during dry years plants are likely to yield attractive flowers. Producing white ray flowers around a dense cluster of yellow disk flowers, rock daisy in many ways epitomizes the prototypical daisy plant. Although highly variable, rock daisy typically grows to a height of no more than eighteen inches.
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Silver Cholla
March/April

      There are a number of different species of cholla that are native to the Death Valley area, but the species that you are most likely to encounter at higher altitudes in the Death Valley area is Silver Cholla. In fact, the specimen shown here was photographed in Pleasant Canyon at and elevation of 6600 feet. Despite the attractive appearance of the flowers produced by Silver Cholla, it is said that they produce a rather unpleasant odor reminiscent of rancid butter!
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Sky Pilot
May/June

      Quite common at higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada range, Sky Pilot also grows on the east side of Owens Valley in the White Mountains. In fact, the specimen displayed here was photographed along the road up White Mountain Peak somewhere around fourteen thousand feet in elevation. The leaves of Sky Pilot are said to resemble a fuzzy caterpillar and the bluish, funnel-shaped flowers form in spherical clusters. The musky odor produced by the leaves of this plant have earned it the nickname of Skunky Polemonium. (Click here for more info!)

Yellow Eyes
July/August

      This exceptionally attractive member of the Pea Family tends to form dense colonies and is generally found growing in sandy washes between 2600 and 7500 feet in elevation. Like most lupines it produces clusters of pea type flowers complete with the characteristic banners, keel, and wings. What is particularly interesting about this species of lupine is the yellow spot at the center of the flower, which apparently inspired the common name given to this interesting flower. This plant is particularly prevalent in the Darwin area.
(Click here for more info!)

Evening Primrose
September/October

      If you hike the Telescope Peak trail during the right time of year, you are likely to encounter at least two species of Evening Primrose with large white flowers growing alongside the trail: Tufted Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa marginata) and California Evening Primrose (Oenothera californica avita). Both bloom during late spring and through mid-summer and they are quite similar in appearance. Click the following links to compare and contrast these two species of evening primrose.
Tufted Evening Primose
California Evening Primrose

Mojave Thistle
November/December

      Particularly prevalent in the Argus Range, Mojave Thistle features attractive flowers which grow on unattractive plants. Not only are the plants somewhat weed like in appearance, but the pale leaves are armed with sharp spines. In fact, these plants often prove to be quite a formidable obstacle when it comes to bushwacking one's way through desert canyons, where they often grow in abundance. Fortunately, donkeys tend to avoid these plants and so donkey trails are often available, which make it possible to bypass thickets of vegetation which include thistle. (Click here for more info!)


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