Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wildflowers of the Mojave Desert

Where better to experience an array of Mojave Desert wildflowers than Mojave National Preserve?  While camping here last spring, I explored the area around Hole-in-the-Wall campground and was overjoyed to discover an abundance of blooming plants, a kaleidoscope of color, if you will. 

A short trail from Hole-in-the-Wall campground to the visitor center takes you through the most beautiful desert garden, one planted entirely by nature.  (But the perk is, there are signs with plant names next to prominent desert shrubs.) 

Linear Leaved Goldenbush (Ericameria linearifolia) and Blue Sage (Salvia dorrii)

This place is botanist heaven!  Ask Eric: I was giddy.  It seemed literally everything around me was covered in blooms!  And the colors!  So many colors, woven seamlessly together into a breathtaking desert tapestry.  It makes my heart beat a little faster just thinking about it!

Desert Paintbrush (Castilleja chromosa/angustifolia) growing in Blue Sage

From the visitor center, we hiked on through Banshee Canyon.  It just so happened that a passing storm was clearing up, and as we emerged from the canyon, the desert came alive with birdsong.  I was enthralled.  A place with blooms and birds?!  What more can a naturalist ask for?

Flowers of Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera)

Mojave Yucca

I'm afraid my photographs will never do this magical place justice.  But I did try.  From here, I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  The landscape and plants themselves are probably the best testament to the uniqueness of this beautiful and very special place.

Desert Vervain (Verbena gooddingii)

Close-up of the flowers of Blue Sage (Salvia dorrii)

Desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

California Primrose (Oenothera californica)

Wallace's Woolly Daisy (Eriophyllum wallacei)

Desert calico (Loeseliastrum matthewsii)

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

Yellow Desert Evening Primrose (Oenothera primiveris)

Bajada Lupine (Lupinus concinnus) (?) My best guess, judging by the very hairy leaves

Bajada Lupine (?)
Buckhorn Cholla (Opuntia acanthocarpa) and Linear Leaved Goldenbush

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