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A Perfumed Garden Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

Karla Karlarificibilitudinitatibus

…If I were to find a new plant species, that’s what I would name it! Of course, this little beauty (and I do mean little) already has a name: Nemacladus rubescens, more ‘commonly’ known as Desert Nemacladus or Desert Threadplant. The Nemacladus rubescens that we found in Box Canyon (Mecca, CA) was about 2.5″ tall and flowers were approximately 1/16″ wide! Such incredible detail for such a tiny, tiny flower. Notice the glass-like sticks (the pistils?). When you tilt the flower up to sunlight, these little “sticks” reflect the light, like facets of a diamond. Incredible!

These tiny flowers are affectionately called “belly flowers,” because you have to get on your belly to see them!

Around the same area (er, Box Canyon), we found two more flowers in the Nemacladus genus: Nemacladus glanduliferus and Nemacladus tenuis.

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Botanical Identification

Eucrypta? No way, You crypt-huh!

All joking aside, we’re pretty sure this lovliest of lovlies is from the family Eucrypta, but is it Eucrypta micrantha, or Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia? Hopefully, some avid botanist could help us out with this problem…? The detail below has a leaf in it, maybe helpful, maybe not… oh well…

When we first spotted this little guy (or gal), we thought it was one of the gilias that we’d been seeing. It’s leaves are kinda similar and they are all very tiny with pale purple flowers. They also have little hairs along the stem. The little hairs actually remind us of another tiny plant in Maine known as Sundew (Drosera — a carnivorous plant). Of course, this little lovely is far from carnivorous.

tlb_eucryptadetail

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Botanical Identification

Trailing Four O’clock

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Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

The desert trumpet

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Botanical Identification

The princess and the bee…

When we found this little bee cozily snoozing in this ghost flower (Mohavea confertiflora), we wondered how it got there. After a while, we posited that the ghost flower and bee may have similar nocturnal/diurnal rhythms. At night, we thought, the bee would go to sleep (in the flower) as the flower closed, and when the sun came up in the morning to warm them both, the flower would open and the bee would start its day. Wonderful.

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Botanical Identification

Lesser Yellow Throated Gilia

This is one of my favorite flowers! It’s about 3 mm in diameter and doesn’t open until after 10 am. There are a few flowers in the gilia family. This one is star shaped with petals that slowly transform from a bluish-purple to pink at the tips. The inside of the flower is white, then inside the throat is an unmistakable yellow—hence, yellow-throated. The anthers (or pom-poms as I like to call them), of which there are five, are a light blue. How can something so tiny contain so much color?!

They are everywhere on our hikes, but you have to look for them (because they are so delicate and tiny). That’s another thing, how can something so delicate withstand the heat and not wilt? The desert is a constant source of amazement! Well, many of the ones we find grow in the lee of a rock—those tend to stick around longer and are taller than their counterparts that grow in the open.

Some lesser yellow throated gilia have more pink, some a little more blue, and yet others a little more purple. This one is a gorgeous example of all three colors prominently featured. I particularly love the outline of the petals in that bright pink. Simply stunning!

I wonder how long these little guys and gals will last…

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Botanical Identification Flowers of San Jacinto

Little White Desert Flowers

Karla and I are at it again! This time, at the Randall Henderson Trail in the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. Today, we’re going for 32 bit HDR… I’m not even sure what that stands for, but WE LOVE IT!!! The image file is HUGE.

We found this delicate little white desert flower along the trail. Thanks to our friend at Friends of the Desert Mountains, we now know this is little flower is Ditaxis lanceolata. It appears that Ditaxis doesn’t have a common name…

Pointed, star-shaped, five-petaled flower with fuzzy silvery, green leaves. It was so bright that the flowers were almost invisible (plus, they’re tiny). It’s amazing that we continue to spot new species of wildflowers every time we go hiking.

Also, on the trail today, we tried our first mammalaria fruits. They were reddish-orange… small… and seedy… but yummy (though Karla asked, are they supposed to be “slightly slimy?”).

Updated on October 22, 2016

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Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

Prickly Pear Cactus Flower

The most collaboration we’ve put into a picture yet! I’m working the camera, and Karla’s working the Ipad remote, checking the focus and exposure, so that we could combine multiple images into this interpretive HDR. Our new Sony a6000 rocks… seriously.

For months, G and I hiked up the mountains looking at flowers and identifying ‘new’ species (new to us). Each hike took a few hours…with the backpack…the camera…camera equipment…snacks…and water…lots of water. We would set our at dawn and, sometimes, return home in the afternoon. No, we are not crazy; but we are, dedicated.

So imagine our surprise when we spotted this beauty in the Sculpture Garden at the Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert. Since we were in picture taking mode, we brought our camera and equipment everywhere.

 

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Botanical Identification

Apricot globe mallow

We found this beautiful little flower along the drainage ditch on the way to the sculpture garden, and had to stop for a look! It’s hard to get the light right when the sun is directly overhead, without blowing out the highlights, or a mass of specular highlights. I like the color, it reminds me of this sunny day.

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Botanical Identification

A lovely desert globe mallow

Living next to the San Jacinto Mountains, one cannot help but hike and wonder at what’s beyond the peaks. So, we did. Granted, it took us awhile; first, to acclimate, then, to find trails! This little lovely desert globe mallow was found off-trail (though you didn’t hear it from us!) and behind the highest peak closest to us… Needless to say, we were venturing into unchartered territory (i.e., bush-whacking, except without the whacking).

But it was worth it!

You can’t tell from the picture, but this was the only one of its kind for miles!

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Pink desert globe mallow
Pink desert globe mallow

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Botanical Identification

“Bee-vertail”, with Bee

This is a lighter flower with almost rose colored petals. And who’s that sleeping in a lovely, downy bed of pollen?

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Botanical Identification

Color me desert too…

This little California barrel cactus was our first stop this morning. So much going on: red, green, purple, yellow—now that’s a lotta color! Cacti are very cool, they grow from the center out… and up!

This one is small, and cute, but there are some up the hill in remote and practically inaccessible locations that may be bigger than Karla!

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Botanical Identification

Little Lupinus

From family Lupinus. A little smaller here than the ones we’re used to in Maine. Understandably, since we were at 2100 ft and there’s a huge gap in precipitation levels! When we first came to soCal, we didn’t know any of the plants here. Suddenly, while driving from Victorville to LA, Karla exclaimed “are those lupines!!! YAY!!!” We didn’t stop, but we were happy to see someone we knew.

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Botanical Identification Desert Gallery Flowers of San Jacinto

Mood Indigo

We finally got it (Indigo Bush) right! Karla picked the flower she wanted to see, and we worked together to get it perfect. For shots like these, we agree that a macro rail would be handy… And add a few pounds of camera gear. Oi….

For more technical details about Indigo Bush, see our article on Psorothamnus schottii.

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Botanical Identification

Desert Trumpet (Eriogonum inflatum)

After many searches, we finally found it!  Here is an excellent site for Sonoran Desert wildflower identification. Whew!