Summer 2011
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Panamint Bird's Beak
September 18, 2011

      Although not the most attractive flower in the Snapdragon Family, Panamint Bird's Beak (Cordylanthus eremicus) is nonetheless an interesting plant. The odd thing about this plant is that its flowers never really seem to open. The result is a flower that sort of resembles the beak of a bird, which obviously is how it got its name. This flower blooms from July to October and is found growing in Pinyon-Juniper forests in the Inyo and Panamint ranges. An interesting tidbit of information relating to this plant is that many members of its genus are root parasites. (Click here for more info!)

Bridges Penstemon
September 04, 2011

      Bridges Penstemon (Penstemon rostriflorus) is one of several members of the genus Penstemon that produces red, trumpet-like flowers and that is found in the Death Valley area. It is also quite common in the Sierra Nevada range and it is found in Nevada and parts of Utah growing at elevations above 5000 feet as well. The distinguishing feature of this penstemon is the reflexed lower petals or lower lip of the flower. In fact, some plant enthusiasts claim that these reflexed petals look a little like the flippers of a seal. (Click here for more info!)

Granite Gilia
August 21, 2011

      Linanthus pungens is a plant that grows in the Death Valley area that has seen a lot of name changes. In fact, two varieties of this plant were recognized by Mary DeDecker, who listed them as Granite Gilia (Leptodactylon pungens pulchriflorum) and Prickly Phlox (Leptodactylon pungens hallii). Interestingly, Edmund Jaeger listed this plant as Gilia pungens tenuiloba and provided the common name as Prickly Gilia. Even more interesting is that Calflora.org lists this plant under the common name Granite Prickly Phlox, although the image server at berkeley.edu provides captions containing every combination of Granite, Prickly, Gilia, and Phlox, that might sound like a reasonable common name, with their image collection for this plant. Just goes to show you, sometimes the name of a plant is more complicated than you might expect! (Click here for more info!)

Alpine Penstemon
August 07, 2011

      If you do much hiking at higher altitudes in the Great Basin region, you're likely to notice mats of tubular, purple flowers during July and August. These flowers can be so dense that the small plants that they are attached to can't be seen. This plant produces some of the most showy flowers that you're likely to come across above treeline. I encountered this plant on recent hikes to White Mountain Peak and Cottonwood Lakes Basin. (Click here for more info!)

Panamint Penstemon
July 24, 2011

      Panamint Penstemon (also known as Desert Beardtongue) is quite common on both the Argus Range side and the Panamint Range side of Panamint Valley. The pink flowers appear during May and July. Close inspection of the flowers reveals purple "nectar guides" and an interesting, fuzzy, tonguelike appendage that emerges from the flower tube, which was undoubtedly the inspiration for one of the common names of this flower. (Click here for more info!)

Desert Trumpet
July 10, 2011

      This plant is most well-known for it's inflated stem. The flowers, on the other hand, are so small and inconspicuous that most people never even notice them. This is despite the fact that not only does this plant produce a large number of flowers, but it also produces flowers for up to seven months out of the year. In fact, during a hike this last week in Isham Canyon I encountered quite a few of these plants in bloom! (Click here for more info!)


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