Spring 2014
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Wood Fruit Evening Primrose
June 22, 2014

      The Evening Primrose Family (Onagraceae) is an interesting family, containing an immense variety of plants which produce attractive flowers. In fact, the Evening Primrose Family is one of those families that has been divided into tribes due to the large number of genera it contains. In any case, Wood Fruit Evening Primrose is a member of the Oenothera genus which contains about 145 separate species. You are likely to find this plant growing in the Sierra Nevada range and, more specifically, this plant has been sighted quite a few times in the Horseshoe Meadow area. (Click here for more info!)

Butterfly Bush
June 08, 2014

      Butterfly Bush is a rather unusual-looking plant and it is somewhat uncommon, being found almost exclusively in arid environments in areas with a lot of limestone. Somewhat uncommon, Butterfly Bush is endemic to eastern California and portions of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. It can be found in several locations in Death Valley National Park and adjacent wilderness areas including the Funeral Range, Grapevine Mountains, Argus Range, the vicinity of Dry Mountain, and the Panamint Range. It's pale yellow flowers and grayish-bluish-green leaves give the plant an almost ghost-like appearance. Although at one time classified as a member of either the Buddlejaceae or the Loganiaceae, it is now included as a member of the Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family). (Click here for more info!)

Desert Columbine
May 25, 2014

      The Argus Range is for the most part overlooked and underestimated. Despite the fact that the majority of the publicly accessible portion of the range has been designated as wilderness, it is not visited by a great number of people. Not only does the range contain several interesting abandoned mine sites, but it also is home to a number of fascinating plants that many might not expect to be found in such an apparently inhospitable location. Orchids, columbine, beardtongue, evening snow, and an abundance of other attractive and noteworthy plants grow in the Argus Range and await those willing to hike a little ways in order to appreciate the natural beauty contained in this wonderful wilderness area. With peaks reaching up to over 8000 feet and lots of springs in the canyons, the range provides a variety of habitats suitable to the needs of a diverse collection of plant species. (Click here for more info!)

Purple Mat
May 11, 2014

      There are a lot of neat belly flowers that grow here in the desert. Some of them are even what you might call spectacular and one of the most attractive of the bunch is a pretty little plant known as Purple Mat which produces purplish-pink flowers that are unexpectedly large in comparison to the plant which produces them. Purple Mat will produce at least some flowers even during dry years. In fact, even this year, which is the third of three consecutive years of drought, good displays of this plant have been observed in many areas in the Slate and Argus Ranges. (Click here for more info!)

Hedgehog Cactus
April 27, 2014

      Based on personal observation, Hedgehog Cactus is probably the fourth most common cactus growing in the Death Valley area, with the first three most common cacti being Beavertail, Cholla, and Cottontop. As the fourth most common cactus in the Death Valley Area, Hedgehog Cactus is one of the cacti you are most likely to see while in bloom and it's probably safe to say that of the four most common cacti in the area, it easily produces the most spectacular blooms. The brilliant magenta flowers are likely to catch your attention should you happen to walk up a desert wash, especially around the 3000 to 4000 foot level in and around Death Valley. (Click here for more info!)

Indigo Bush
April 13, 2014

      If you happen to see purple bushes while driving through the Mojave Desert during late March through May, there's a good chance that you are looking at Indigo Bush. The flowers produced by this bush are intensely blue, violet, or purple, and often it seems that the flowers outnumber the leaves, at least for a couple weeks during the spring. A close look at an individual flower reveals the keel, banner, and wings characteristic of pea-type flowers, which is what should be expected since Indigo Bush is a member of the Pea Family. Other interesting features of this plant include thorns, pinnately divided leaves, and an interesting beaked seedpod. (Click here for more info!)


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