Death Valley Plants
South Sierra Plants


      Mary DeDecker in her book about the Flora of the Northern Mojave Desert lists ten species of Brickellia that are native to the Death Valley area. Also, there are thirteen species of Brickellia listed in The Jepson Desert Manual. So, one way or the other, there are quite a few different species of Brickellia to be found in the Death Valley area. A problem with this genus is that some of the species contained in it are difficult to differentiate. Also many would regard the flowers produced by these plants as less than spectacular. Just the same this is an interesting genus and at this time there are six species of Brickellia included in the plant collection at the Death Valley Plants website:
Spearleaved Brickellia
California Brickellia
Desert Brickellbush
Inyo Bricklebush
Pinyon Brickellia
Sweet Brickellia

Rock Midget

      Also known as Death Valley Monkeyflower, Rock Midget is found only in the Death Valley area. In fact, the California Native Plant Society lists it as a rare and endangered species. Although the plants grow to a height of less than six inches, they produce some pretty spectacular flowers. So, observing this plant in its native habitat is quite a treat. Although in the past this plant has been listed as a member of the Snapdragon Family (Scrophulariaceae), it has recently been reclassified as a member of the Lopseed Family (Phrymaceae). (Click here for more info!)

Button Brittlebush

      There are many plants which occasionally produce flowers during the autumn and Button Brittlebush is in that group. Whether or not flowers are produced depends on rainfall, as you might expect. This year there were a couple heavy storms during the summer and so there were quite a few plants producing flowers this fall. In fact, it is not an exaggeration to assert that the fall bloom was more spectacular than the spring bloom this year! Although a single flower produced by Button Brittlebush is not all that attractive, a bush with a bunch of blooms looks kind of neat as can be seen by clicking on the following link: (Click here for more info!)

Devil's Claw

      Although Devil's Claw is listed as a plant that can be found at a few locations in and around Death Valley, I have never been able to locate a specimen. Specifically, this plant is supposed to be present in Johnson Canyon on the Death Valley side of the Panamint Range and Hunter Canyon in Saline Valley. It's also reported to have been observed somewhere in Panamint Valley, but I'm not sure exactly where. In any case, I grew a plant in my backyard since I couldn't find any in the wild!
(Watch the video!)
(Click here for more info!)

Scarlet Milkvetch

      Fall wildflowers are always a treat, but an encounter with scarlet milkvetch is pure delight! Normally this plant blooms during the spring, but some years, following sufficient summer rainfall, it may produce flowers during the autumn months. Scarlet milkvetch grows at elevations between 2100 and 8000 feet and is most commonly found growing in a Pinyon-Juniper Woodland plant community. Sightings have been reported in several mountain ranges in the Death Valley area, including the Panamint, Argus, Inyo, and White ranges. (Click here for more info!)


      Certain species of Cryptantha (commonly referred to as Forget-Me-Nots) are among the first flowers to bloom each year. Some begin blooming in February. The Jepson Desert Manual lists thirty-six species of Cryptantha which are found in the Desert Southwest. Likewise, Mary DeDecker lists thirty-one species of Cryptantha which grow in the Northern Mojave Desert. Many members of the genus Cryptantha are what are often called "belly flowers" due to their small size. Incidentally, certain species of Cryptantha produce flowers only one-sixteenth of an inch wide. (Click here for more info!)

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