Death Valley Plants
South Sierra Plants
Yerba Mansa

      If you travel the dirt road connecting the town of Darwin to Darwin Falls you will go by Miller's Spring. If you pass by during the right part of the year you will be treated to the sight of yerba mansa in bloom. These showy flowers seem out of place in the desert, but they are native to the area. However, the only place I've ever seen them is at Miller's Spring and they are entirely dependent a on steady supply of water. (Click here for more info!)

Wild Cabbage

      It's the inflated stems and not the flowers of this plant that are most likely to catch your attention, but the flowers are quite pretty if you take the time to look at them closely. Interestingly this plant is related to desert candle and jewelflower. These plants are in the Mustard Family along with some common desert plants such as spectacle-pod, prince's plume, and water cress. Also some plants we commonly eat such as broccoli, radishes, and cabbage are also in this family. You can expect to find wild cabbage growing in pinyon/juniper forests in the Death Valley area. (Click here for more info!)

Cushion Buckwheat

      While hiking in the White Top Mountain area in Death Valley National Park a couple weeks ago I noticed a small but interesting plant called Cushion Buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium). The flowers caught my attention and upon close inspection I decided that they looked like candy. I'm not sure if I'd say that they looked more like little peppermint candies or red and white taffy, but I was almost tempted to pluck a flower cluster and try one out. It looked that good! I encountered these plants at 7700 feet near what is left of the Silver Crown Claims at the end of the road above the Huntley Mine Camp. (Click here for more info!)


      This is a close up view of the lower part of a chia flower. As you can see, it has three dark blue spots that are arranged in such a manner as to suggest a pair of eyes and a mouth. Further, it appears as if the eyes and the mouth are wide open suggesting the facial expression of a scary ghost. At any rate, chia is a common annual found throughout the Death Valley area and beyond. It's a member of the Mint Family and you can click here to read more about it! (Click here for more info!)

Desert Dandelion

      The desert dandelion is so common that it is often considered a weed, but unlike common dandelion, it is a native to North America. Despite the fact that common dandelion and desert dandelion share a similar common name, they aren't as closely related as their common names imply, although they both are members of the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae). The scientific name for desert dandelion is Malacothrix glabrata and the scientific name for common dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. (Click here for more info!)

Lilac Sunbonnet

      This annual stays pretty close to the ground, but the flowers will catch your attention! At only four inches in height you'll have to lean over or sit down to get a close look at the intricately decorated petals, but they are worth the effort. Lilac Sunbonnet (Langloisia setosissima) blooms from late April through June and is generally found below 5500 feet in elevation throughout the Mojave Desert and surrounding areas. (Click here for more info!)

Death Valley Plants
South Sierra Plants

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