Summer 2014
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Mojave Pincushion
August 03, 2014

      There are several species of Chaenactis native to the Death Valley area. In fact, Mary DeDecker in her Flora of the Northern Mojave Desert, California lists seven and statewide there are thirteen different species of Chaenactis according to calflora.org. Mojave Pincushion, also known as Dusty Maidens and Large-Flowered Pincushion, is fairly common throughout Inyo County. The specimen shown here was photographed at 5000 feet along the top of the Slate Range, just west of Death Valley National Park. (Click here for more info!)

Creosote
July 20, 2014

      A single creosote bush may live thirty to ninety years, but a clonal colony which starts with a single bush may live thousands of years. In fact, the oldest identified clonal colony, known as King Clone and located within the Creosote Rings Preserve of Lucerne and Johnson Valley, is 11,700 years old. There are plenty of creosotes throughout the Mojave Desert, including Death Valley, as well as much of the desert southwest. They are so prevalent that one of the most common plant communities found in the desert (Creosote Bush Scrub Plant Community) is named after them. (Click here for more info!)

Ground Cherry
July 6, 2014

      The flowers produced by Ground Cherry are quite attractive, but its fruit is equally, if not more, interesting. Most often described as resembling a paper lantern, it is no surprise that this plant is closely related to an ornamental known as Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi). Enclosed in the "paper lantern" is a fleshy berry, a feature shared with another relative, the tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica). Although Ground Cherry produces a root which is sometimes compared to that of a radish, it is in no way related to the radish! (Click here for more info!)


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