Coyote Melon

      Coyote Melon is one of those plants that are likely to be found growing near springs since they need more water than is the case for many desert plants. The Argus Wilderness contains many springs and one of the places that I've found a large number of coyote melon plants is Water Canyon, the mouth of which is just below Slate Range Crossing. In fact, the specimens shown in my Coyote Melon (Plant Freak Song) video were found just a couple miles up the canyon. BTW, the seeds of this plant may have been used as a food source by local Native American groups. (Click here for more info!)

Gravel Ghost

      Gravel ghosts are also sometimes called parachute plants. This is because of the configuration of the inflorescence. The white flowers form in such a way as to suggest a parachute when they are exceptionally large and there is an abundance of them. The rest of the plant is practically invisible and as a result, when looked at from the right angle, the array of flowers resembles a parachute. (Click here for more info!)


      Columbine is one of those plants you wouldn't expect to see in Death Valley National Park. It grows at higher elevations and it requires lots of water. However, Death Valley NP has a few localities that satisfy those requirements. A colony of columbine plants grows just up from Thompson Camp, which is located in Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Range. The colony is near a large water cistern. DeDecker claims that columbine also grows in the Inyo Range and the Grapevine Range. (Click here for more info!)

Purple Owl's Clover

      Purple Owl's Clover is a small plant, but upon close inspection it proves to be a rather interesting plant. The flowers form a spikelike cluster and are magenta to red, but yellow splotches form on some of the corollas giving the plant, when in bloom, a rather distinctive appearance! I came across a rather large colony of these plants between Fish and Isham Canyon in the Slate Range last spring. Other members of the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family) include Desert Paintbrush, Scarlet Monkeyflower, Lesser Mohavea, Panamint Penstemon, and Desert Figwort. (Click here for more info!)

Valentine Plant

      Pterostegia drymarioides has a few common names. Sometimes it's called threadstem. Sometimes it is referred to as botanist's friend. However, the most festive of its common names is valentine plant. The name is quite appropriate, of course, because its leaves sometimes look like little hearts and on top of that the leaves are also sometimes tinted red. The specimen shown on this page was found in the southern part of the Argus Range just above Pioneer Point near the county line between San Bernardino County and Inyo County. (Click here for more info!)

Desert Holly

      With leaves of pale green, or even sometimes white, desert holly is a fairly easy plant to identify. It is a small shrub that stays under three feet in height. It's leaves are toothed and the most interesting thing about the plant is the flowers that it produces. Under most conditions the plants are dioecious, which means that a given plant normally either produces male or female flowers. The female flowers are succulent, disk-shaped structures while the male flowers are scale-like and an almost cranberry red in color. (Click here for more info!)


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