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Milkvetch
January/February

      There are several species of milkvetch which grow in and around Death Valley. The one shown here was found growing at Panamint Valley Dunes and is known by the scientific name Astragalus lentiginosus, eleven varieties of which are found in California. The specimen shown here is almost certainly an example of the variety called variabilis. According to DeDecker it is found from the Panamint Dunes and southward, growing at elevations between 2200-3400 feet. Incidentally, an extract of the root of Astragalus membranaceus, called TA-65, is believed to have anti-viral and anti-aging effects. (Click here for more info!)

Rosy Apricot Mallow
March/April

      Apricot Mallow, or Desert Mallow, is highly variable in terms of size, leaf shape, and flower color. There are three varieties of this species (Sphaeralcea ambigua) which grow in the Death Valley area listed by DeDecker: ambigua, monticola, and rosacea. BTW, other plants that are members of the Mallow Family include hollyhock, hibiscus, cotton, and okra!
LINKS:
(Rosy Apricot Mallow Info!)
(Desert Mallow Info!)

Argus Blazing Star
May/June

      Seeing as this plant is found in the mountainous areas of Inyo County, it isn't surprising that it is also known as Inyo Blazing Star. In fact, many plant books list it as such. However, Argus Blazing Star (Mentzelia oreophila) is also an appropriate name, especially since there is another species (Mentzelia inyoensis) that has Inyo Blazing Star as it's common name. Of course, Argus Blazing Star doesn't just grow in the Argus Range, or in Inyo County for that matter. It can be found throughout much of the desert southwest, growing at altitudes between 1800 and 6000 feet. (Click here for more info!)

Flax
July/August

      Although common flax (Linum usitatissimum) is not native to North America, it does occasionally grow wild on this continent. It is also closely related to western blue flax (Linum lewisii), which may be found in the Death Valley area growing above 7500 feet in the Inyo, White, and Panamint ranges. Interestingly, L. lewisii is the only member of the Flax Family listed by DeDecker that is found in the northern Mojave region. The seeds of common flax are a great source of essential fatty acids and fiber! (Click here for more info!)

Rock Pea
September/October

      Although most desert wildflower books assert that Rock Pea blooms from March to May, I have often found some fresh flowers on these plants during January. This last week I encountered some Rock Pea flowers at an elevation of about 4000 feet while hiking in the Argus Range near Rattlenake Springs. Formerly classified as Lotus rigidus, this plant is now officially known as Acmispon rigidus. Another common name for this plant is deervetch, BTW. (Click here for more info!)


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