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Title: 100 Desert Wildflowers in Natural Color
Author: Dodge, Natt Noyes
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                       [Illustration: Title page]

                        100 _Desert Wildflowers_
                            in natural color

                                                    _Photography & Text_
                                                           Natt N. Dodge


Copyright 1963 by the Southwestern Monuments Association. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without
permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may
quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine or

           Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 63-13471
                      First Printing, 1963—20,000
                      Second Printing, 1965—20,000
                 Third Printing, (revised) 1967—20,000

                Printed in the United States of America
            W. A. Krueger Co., Tyler Div. · Phoenix, Arizona


  Hints for Flower Photographers                                       1
  Introduction                                                         1
      The Desert                                                       1
      Why and When Do Deserts Bloom?                                   1
      Identifying Desert Wildflowers                                   3
  Spring gives an Evening Party                                        4
  1. Longleaf ephedra                                                  5
  2. Common reed                                                       5
  3. Prairie spiderwort                                                6
  4. Desertlily                                                        6
  5. Mariposa                                                          7
  6. Golden mariposa                                                   7
  7. Desert mariposa                                                   8
  8. Soaptree yucca                                                    8
  9. Joshua-tree                                                       9
  10. Torrey yucca                                                     9
  11. Giant yucca                                                     10
  12. Sacahuista                                                      10
  13. Sotol                                                           11
  14. Agave                                                           11
  15. Parry agave                                                     12
  16. Lechuguilla                                                     12
  17. Canaigre                                                        13
  18. Trailing-four-o’clock                                           13
  19. Sand-verbena                                                    14
  20. Mexican goldpoppy                                               14
  21. Pricklepoppy                                                    15
  22. Evening-primrose                                                15
  23. Spectaclepod                                                    16
  24. Bladderpod                                                      16
  25. Western-wallflower                                              17
  26. False-mesquite                                                  17
  27. Catclaw-acacia                                                  18
  28. Mescat-acacia                                                   18
  29. Honey mesquite                                                  19
  30. Senna                                                           19
  31. Blue palo-verde                                                 20
  32. Bird-of-Paradise-flower                                         20
  33. Lupine                                                          21
  34. Adonis lupine                                                   21
  35. Smoke-thorn                                                     22
  36. Dalea                                                           22
  37. Tesota                                                          23
  38. Woolly loco                                                     23
  39. Heron-bill                                                      24
  40. Creosotebush                                                    24
  41. Arizona-poppy                                                   25
  42. Desert-mallow                                                   25
  43. Five-stamen tamarisk                                            26
  44. Yellow mentzelia                                                26
  45. Rock-nettle                                                     27
  46. Night-blooming cereus                                           27
  47. Saguaro                                                         28
  48. Organpipe cactus                                                28
  49. Claretcup echinocereus                                          29
  50. Strawberry echinocereus                                         29
  51. Rainbow echinocereus                                            30
  52. Yellow pitaya echinocereus                                      30
  53. Barrel cactus                                                   31
  54. Fishhook cactus                                                 31
  55. Beavertail cactus                                               32
  56. Engelmann pricklypear                                           32
  57. Jumping cholla                                                  33
  58. Pencil cholla                                                   33
  59. Whipple cholla                                                  34
  60. Walkingstick cholla                                             34
  61. Evening-primrose                                                35
  62. Ocotillo                                                        35
  63. Field bind-weed                                                 36
  64. Santa Fe phlox                                                  36
  65. Starflower                                                      37
  66. Phacelia                                                        37
  67. Nama                                                            38
  68. Buffalobur                                                      38
  69. Silverleaf nightshade                                           39
  70. Sacred datura                                                   39
  71. Tree tobacco                                                    40
  72. Ceniza                                                          40
  73. Desert beardtongue                                              41
  74. Palmer penstemon                                                41
  75. Paintbrush                                                      42
  76. Owl-clover                                                      42
  77. Desert-willow                                                   43
  78. Trumpet-bush                                                    43
  79. Louisiana broomrape                                             44
  80. Coyote-melon                                                    44
  81. Snake-weed                                                      45
  82. Desertstar                                                      45
  83. Mohave aster                                                    46
  84. Fleabane                                                        46
  85. Broom baccharis                                                 47
  86. Desert zinnia                                                   47
  87. Brittle-bush                                                    48
  88. Silverleaf enceliopsis                                          48
  89. Crown-beard                                                     49
  90. Douglas coreopsis                                               49
  91. Paperflower                                                     50
  92. Desert baileya                                                  50
  93. Goldfields                                                      51
  94. Chaenactis                                                      51
  95. Douglas groundsel                                               52
  96. New Mexico thistle                                              52
  97. Desert dandelion                                                53
  98. Malacothryx                                                     53
  99. White cupfruit                                                  54
  100. Prickly sowthistle                                             54
  Suggestions for Additional Reading                                  56
  Index                                                               58

                    _Hints for Flower Photographers_

If your interest in desert flowers includes a desire to obtain beautiful
photographs of them, the following “tips” may be helpful.

MOTION is a major hazard in still photography, and flowers, especially
those on long, slender stems, seem to be constantly in motion stimulated
by the ever-present desert breeze. The practical solution to this
problem is to take your photographing jaunts, if possible, in the early
morning when the air is most likely to be motionless. A flower picture
blurred by motion is a complete flop!

Except for motion, nothing will irritate you more often than the abrupt,
frequent, and marked CHANGES IN LIGHTING due to small clouds passing
over the sun. Again, early morning has an advantage in normally
cloudless desert skies. Clouds may be expected after 10 o’clock on many

DEPTH OF FIELD is highly important in flower photography, and you will
be gratified with the results if you take pains to have all parts of the
picture, except the background, in sharp focus. This desirable objective
has become less difficult to attain with the advent of “faster” films
which enable you to use the required small diaphragm “stop” without too
greatly reducing the shutter speed, and still obtain adequate exposures.

Too many flower photographers fail to get really CLOSE UP PICTURES. A
single blossom or a small cluster of blossoms provides a much more
attractive and significant picture than an entire plant. One blossom
with, perhaps, a bud, one fruit, and a trace of foliage, if well
composed, is tops among flower pictures. This objective requires camera
equipment with the ability to focus on objects close to the lens. Also
it complicates the goal of getting all parts of the picture into sharp

UNCLUTTERED BACKGROUNDS are a “must” in flower pictures. You might
consider joining the flower photographers who carry with them plain gray
or variously tinted background cards or light-weight boards. Such a card
or board of contrasting color, when placed behind the blossom, will
accomplish wonders in giving prominence to the flower. One method of
obtaining a dark background is to ask someone (if you are a
contortionist you can do it yourself) to stand in such a position as to
cast a shadow on the ground or foliage behind the subject. The sky makes
an excellent background, and you will find it useful whenever you can
set your camera below the level of the subject.

With the foregoing points in mind, study the pictures in this booklet
with the aim of trying to surpass them in quality. By exercising care
and patience, you should be able to do so.


                              _The Desert_

When Webster defined a desert as a “dry, barren region, largely treeless
and sandy” he was not thinking of the 50,000 square mile Great American
Desert of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Most of it
is usually dry and parts may be sandy, but as a whole, it is far from
barren and treeless. Heavily vegetated with gray-green shrubs, small but
robust trees, pygmy forests of grotesque cactuses and stiff-leaved
yuccas, and myriads of herbaceous plants, the desert, following rainy
periods, covers itself with a blanket of delicate, fragrant wildflowers.
Edmund C. Jaegar, author of several books on deserts, reports that the
California deserts alone support more than 700 species of flowering

The late Dr. Forrest Shreve, for many years Director of the Desert
Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution near Tucson, Arizona, defined a
desert as “a region of deficient and uncertain rainfall.” He divided the
Great American Desert into four major sections: (1) _Chihuahuan_
(chee-WAH-wahn), including the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Coahuila
(coa-WHEE-lah), southwestern Texas, and south-central New Mexico; (2)
_Sonoran_, including Baja California, southwestern Arizona, and
northwestern Sonora; (3) _Mojave_ (moh-HAH-vee), Colorado, including
south-eastern California and extreme southern Nevada; (4) _Great Basin_,
including Nevada, Utah, southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon.

Since the steppes and mesas of the Great Basin Desert have generally
lower temperatures, higher elevations, and greater precipitation than
the other three sections, we are not including its flowers in this work.

                    _Why and When Do Deserts Bloom?_

The Great American Desert produces, when conditions are favorable, a
gorgeous exhibition of wildflowers. Trees, shrubs, and herbs all
contribute to the splendor of the display. Soil composition, slope and
exposure, suitable temperatures, and adequate moisture are essential to
plant growth and flower production.

Moisture is the uncertain factor, and years may pass without enough
rainfall to stimulate plant growth. Rain of less than 0.15 inch is
wasted as far as desert plants are concerned, for the moisture
evaporates before penetrating the soil. Some annuals produce seeds
having water-soluble germination inhibitors in their coverings, hence
fail to sprout, even after rain, unless the moisture totals at least
half an inch.

When soil moisture from December and January rainfall is enough to
support potential plants it dissolves the seed coats, and the desert
floor is soon carpeted with eager green seedlings. When winter rains are
scant, as is so often the case, the dormant seed population fails to
germinate and the spring flower display doesn’t appear. There is no sure
way to forecast a spectacular blossom year, for a sudden cold wave or
period of drying winds may literally nip in the bud a potential season
of brilliant bloom. A great flower year may occur only once in a decade.

Perennials are more dependable than annuals, since some of them,
particularly cactuses and other succulents, have water storage tissues
in their stems or roots. These perennials may be counted on to blossom
each year, but with much less abandon than after winters of above normal
precipitation. Many perennials have surprisingly extensive root systems.
Fascinating are the ways by which plants manage to thrive under severe
conditions of desert heat and drought. As we have seen, most annuals lie
dormant as seeds until suitable moisture and temperature occur. Then
they grow very rapidly, to bloom and mature seeds while the soil still
has moisture. Winter rains produce spring-blooming ephemerals, and
summer showers produce summer “quickies.”

Another group of plants, including the ocotillo (oh-koh-TEE-yoh), slows
down life processes to become dormant during dry periods, even to
dropping all leaves. When rains come they put on new leaves, several
times a year if necessary.

Cactuses and other succulents gorge themselves with water when the soil
is wet, releasing moisture very sparingly from storage tissues during
the “long dry.” Some have discarded or reduced foliage, or have covered
leaf surfaces with varnish or wax, to decrease to a minimum the loss of
vital moisture through transpiration.

                    _Identifying Desert Wildflowers_

Unless you are a botanist, identification of flowers by measuring and
counting their various parts, as described in technical keys, is
generally too complicated to be practical. Several years ago,
recognizing this problem, I authored a book, _Flowers of the Southwest
Deserts_, illustrated by Jeanne R. Janish and published by the
Southwestern Monuments Association, designed to aid the wildflower
fancier in plant identification by color-grouping the flowers. With Mrs.
Janish’s superb illustrations pointing out each plant’s most obvious
characteristics, it has proved an excellent field guide. However, the
demand for natural color flower portraits could not go unheeded, and
this book is the result. The two books complement each other, although
each fills a need in its own right. Used together, they make you more
positive of some identifications.

Probably the best way to become acquainted with a flower is to be
introduced to it by someone. But there is one catch to this method—one
plant may be known by many aliases.

When the Spaniards came into the Southwest over 400 years ago they found
Indians had names for some flowers in their own languages. The Spaniards
added their names, and later the Americans added English names. Some of
these names were of similar-appearing but quite different flowers they
had known “back East.” Later, scientists studied the desert plants, and
gave them all Latin names.

To assist in standardizing names of desert flowers, this booklet gives
preference in its headings to scientific and common names found in
_Arizona Flora_, by Kearney and Peebles, Second Edition, 1960. Common
names found in _Texas Plants, A Checklist and Ecological Summary_, 1962,
by F. W. Gould, also have been used. In addition, placed within the
text, are some of the more widely used common names that we have
encountered. Tree names, both common and scientific, follow the
_Checklist of Native and Naturalized Trees of the United States_, by
Elbert L. Little, Jr., 1953.

There are many desert flowers, some quite common, for which there was
not space in this booklet. If you wish to broaden your acquaintance to
include more, we recommend, for added reading publications listed in the

The author wishes to express here sincere thanks to Mrs. Pauline M.
Patraw, Santa Fe botanist, for assistance in identifying many of the
flowers pictured here. For assistance in checking identifications, the
author is indebted to Miss Barbara Lund, Park Naturalist, National Park
Service; to Dr. Charles T. Mason, Jr., Curator of the Herbarium,
University of Arizona Tucson; and to Dr. W. B. McDougall, Curator of
Botany, Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff.

                    _Spring gives an Evening Party_

             [Illustration: Spring gives an Evening Party]

  When Paloverde trims her golden gown,
  And Deerhorn dons her filaments of white;
  When tall Saguaro fits his fragrant crown
  In preparation for the party night;
  When bats across the ruby sunset dance,
  When Ocotillo lights his candle’s flame,
  When verdure carpets Desert’s wide expanse,
  Then Spring is in the Southwest once again.

  The linnets in their scarlet vests and caps
  Are first to answer Spring’s insistent call,
  While white-crowned sparrows scan their travel maps,
  Discussing details of the coming ball.
  Then thrashers practice every morn and eve
  The songs they’ll sing upon that night of nights,
  While phainopeplas, in their haste to leave,
  Dash back and forth in short, impatient flights.

  The desert halls glow bright as time draws near.
  Each cactus wears her frilled and perfumed dress.
  Ground squirrels, for this joyous time of year,
  Sport their best furs. The rabbits do no less.
  From far and near the desert folk have come
  To wait their hostess, Spring, who, very soon,
  Will lift stars o’er the skyline, one by one,
  And then turn on the glorious, golden moon.

                          1. Longleaf ephedra

Commonly called “Mormon tea,” there are many species of ephedra
(ef-FED-rah) growing throughout the Southwest. This yellow-green,
stringy-stemmed shrub with tiny, scale-like leaves, is usually 3 to 4
feet tall, but sometimes reaches a height of 12 feet. Its small,
fragrant, springtime flowers grow in dense clusters that attract
insects. Some species provide winter forage for cattle and are said to
be browsed by bighorn sheep. Pioneers brewed a palatable drink from the
dried stems. Certain Indian tribes considered the brew a tonic,
beneficial for treatment of syphilis and other diseases. The drug,
ephedrine, comes from a Chinese member of this genus.

  _Ephedra trifurca_    Jointfir Family

[Illustration: LONGLEAF EPHEDRA]

                             2. Common reed

Somewhat resembling bamboo, carrizo grows in dense thickets in marshes,
along river banks, and in other wet locations. Largest of the grasses,
it sometimes attains a height of 12 feet. The large, tassel-like flower
heads appear from July to October and create a spectacular mass display.
The horizontal rootstalks interlock, crowding out other plants. A single
rootstalk may extend 30 feet. The straight, hollow stems served Indians
as arrowshafts, pipestems, and loom rods. Along the Mexican border the
leaves are woven into mats and the long, sturdy stems are used as
screens and in roofing native houses.

  _Phragmites communis_    Grass Family

[Illustration: COMMON REED]

                         3. Prairie spiderwort

Because of its slender, drooping leaves, this delicate blue-to-violet,
three-petaled flower might easily be mistaken for a lily. Plants grow
from 8 to 18 inches high. A perennial, the spiderwort’s thick, succulent
roots enable it to produce blossoms from April to September. Not
abundant, it is usually found in moist locations in desert mountain
ranges at elevations above 2,500 feet. Flowers form in clusters at the
tip of a plant’s stem, and are pollenized by bumblebees that eat the

  _Tradescantia occidentalis_    Spiderwort Family


                             4. Desertlily

Limited in its range to the desertlands of southern California and
southwestern Arizona, the desertlily or ajo (AH-hoe) resembles a small
easter lily. During dry seasons the plants do not bloom, but following
wet winters each deeply-buried bulb sends up a vigorous shoot which may
be from 6 inches to 2 feet tall, with a bud cluster at its tip. The
delicately fragrant flowers may appear in late February, with some tardy
bloomers still in evidence in early May. Bulbs were dug and eaten by
Indians and, because of their flavor, were called ajo (garlic) by the
Spanish pioneers. The town of Ajo and a nearby valley and mountain range
in southwestern Arizona were named for this plant.

  _Hesperocallis undulata_    Lily Family

[Illustration: DESERTLILY]

                              5. Mariposa

Similar in appearance to the segolily, State flower of Utah, weakstem
mariposa, sometimes called “straggling butterfly lily,” varies in color
from white to pale purple. The slender stem is not erect, like other
mariposas, of which there are many species, but wanders over the ground
or makes its twisting way among the branches of low shrubs. It grows at
elevations up to 4,000 feet on slopes and benches of mountains of the
Mojave-Colorado Desert, in the Death Valley area, and in the desert
mountains of southern Arizona, blossoming during April and May. Indians
and pioneers ate the bulbs.

  _Calochortus flexuosus_    Lily Family

[Illustration: MARIPOSA]

                           6. Golden mariposa

Considered by some botanists as a distinct species, this mariposa or
“butterfly tulip” is found in the higher mountains of the eastern
Mojave-Colorado Desert and also in the vicinity of the Painted Desert of
northern Arizona. Common in Petrified Forest National Park from May to
July, the bright yellow flowers make an eye-catching display among the
colorful pieces of petrified wood covering the ground. The bulbs can
withstand severe cold, but suffer during winters when there is frequent
freezing and thawing.

  _Calochortus nuttalii aureus_    Lily Family

[Illustration: GOLDEN MARIPOSA]

                           7. Desert mariposa

Brightest of the mariposas, the short-stemmed, flame-like flowers
usually appear singly, but may occur in patches, producing in April a
spectacular display visible from a long distance. Plants growing under
bushes elongate their stems to elevate their blossoms into the sunlight.
Occasional in the Mojave-Colorado Desert, this species is abundant in
the foothills of some of southern Arizona’s mountain ranges, exceeding
even the goldpoppy in the neon-like brilliance of display. _Mariposa_ is
Spanish for butterfly, and the genus name _calochortus_ is Greek for
beautiful grass.

  _Calochortus kennedyi_    Lily Family

[Illustration: DESERT MARIPOSA]

                           8. Soaptree yucca

Common throughout the Southwest, the many species of yuccas (YUH-kuhs)
are of two major groups, the narrow-leaf and the wide-leaf. Called
“soaptree” because of its height (maximum 30 feet) and the fact that its
roots contain saponin, soaptree yucca or _palmilla_ (pahm-EE-yah—“little
palm”) belongs in the narrow-leaf group. From southwestern Arizona
across southern New Mexico, and from west Texas southward into the
Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora, this spectacular plant blossoms
in May and June on desert grasslands from 2,000 to 6,000 foot
elevations. Cattle eat the young flower stalks, and Indians used the
leaf fibers for making fabrics, basketry, and other items. The yucca is
the State flower of New Mexico.

  _Yucca elata_    Lily Family

[Illustration: SOAPTREE YUCCA]

                             9. Joshua-tree

Another of the narrow-leaf yuccas and largest of the genus, the
joshua-tree is restricted in its range to the Mojave-Colorado Desert, of
which it is the principal indicator. Blossoms, which do not open as wide
as those of other species, grow in tight clusters at the tips of the
branches, appearing in March and April. Joshuas do not blossom every
year, the interval between flowerings depending upon rainfall and
temperature. A small night lizard is dependent upon the joshua-tree, at
least 25 {species of birds find nesting sites in it, and numerous
insects, spiders, and scorpions live in its dried leaves and fallen

  _Yucca brevifolia_    Lily Family

[Illustration: JOSHUA-TREE]

                            10. Torrey yucca

Unlike the narrow-leaf soaptrees which produce dry, capsular fruits, the
wide-leaf yuccas bear fleshy fruits which Indians cooked and ate.
Indians also used the leaf fibers in weaving fabrics. Roots contain
saponin and the Indians still cut them up and use the pieces for soap,
especially as a shampoo. The stiff, fleshy leaves with needle-sharp tips
give the plant the name “Spanish bayonet.” Torrey yucca blooms in April
in southeastern New Mexico and west Texas, with similar plants, _Yucca
schottii_ in southern Arizona, and _Yucca schidigera_ in the
Mojave-Colorado Desert.

  _Yucca torreyi_    Lily Family

[Illustration: TORREY YUCCA]

                            11. Giant yucca

Massive and thick-stemmed, the locally-named “giant dagger” is
supposedly limited in its native range in the United States to Brewster
County, Texas. A colony (_Yucca faxoniana_) resembling this species has
been reported recently in McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains.
An extensive forest of these spectacular plants has given the name
Dagger Flat to a broad valley in the Sierra del Carmen of Big Bend
National Park. Usually blossoming in April, the massive, white flower
clusters gracing the crowns of thousands of these majestic yuccas create
a never-to-be-forgotten spectacle. A small night-flying moth is the
yuccas’ pollenizing agent and, in return for this essential service,
lays her eggs in the plants’ ovaries where the young feed on the
developing seeds.

  _Yucca carnerosana_    Lily Family

[Illustration: GIANT YUCCA]

                             12. Sacahuista

Sometimes confused with the yuccas, the several species of “beargrass”
or “basketgrass” have pliant, grasslike leaves, small flowers, and
papery fruits. The plumelike blossom panicles open in May and June. The
plants favor rocky hillsides, and rarely occur on valley floors. Indians
roasted the tender bud stalks for food, and cattle browse the leaves
when other vegetation is lacking. Mexicans, in weaving basketry, use the
entire leaves, which are especially desirable for fashioning basket

  _Nolina microcarpa_    Lily Family

[Illustration: SACAHUISTA]

                               13. Sotol

Also likely to be confused with the yuccas, sotol has a basal cluster of
pliant, ribbonlike leaves edged with hooked thorns, and a tall flower
stalk bearing at its upper end a dense panicle of small, creamy
(sometimes brown) flowers. Blossoming in May and June, the maturing
flower clusters remain attractive throughout the summer. Mexicans split
the succulent basal crowns and allow the sap to ferment, producing the
fiery alcoholic beverage, sotol (SOH-tole). Desert-dwelling bighorn
sheep are said to browse the tough leaves. The stiff leaf bases, when
pulled from the cluster, form the “desert spoons” sold in some curio

  _Dasylirion wheeleri_    Lily Family

[Illustration: SOTOL]

                               14. Agave

Many species of agaves (ah-GAH-vees) or “century plants” attract
attention on desert hillsides when they send up their tall blossom
stalks in June and July. The thick, fleshy, sharp-tipped leaves form a
basal rosette. Some of the larger species may require 10 to 20 years to
store enough plant food to produce the sturdy, fast-growing flower
stalk. After blossoming, the exhausted plant dies. _Agave scabra_, one
of the spectacular forms, is limited in its range to the Chisos
Mountains of Big Bend National Park, Texas.

  _Agave scabra_    Amaryllis Family

[Illustration: AGAVE]

                            15. Parry agave

Another of the large “century plants,” Parry agave blooms from June to
August, producing spectacular displays on hillsides in northern Mexico,
southern New Mexico, and southern Arizona. Some of the larger agaves are
called mescal (mess-KAHL) because of a potent alcoholic beverage of that
name distilled from the fermented sap derived from the bud stalks.
Tequila (tee-KEEL-ah), the famous native drink of Mexico, also is
distilled from fermented agave juices, and the beerlike pulque
(pool-KAY) has a similar derivation. Indians roasted the bud stalks in
stone-lined pits covered with hot rocks. Some of these pits may still be

  _Agave parryi_    Amaryllis Family

[Illustration: PARRY AGAVE]

                            16. Lechuguilla

One of the common plants of the Chihauhuan Desert and considered the
principal indicator of that region, lechuguilla (lay-chu-GHE-ah) covers
the ground so densely in some places that it is impossible to walk
through it. The stiff, erect, needle-tipped, banana-shaped leaves are a
hazard to man and beast. The flowering stalk, which blossoms in May and
June, is unbranched and flexible, bending gracefully in the desert
breeze. Deer and cattle nip off the tender buds. Mexicans weave the
tough leaf fibers into coarse fabrics; and the roots, called _amole_,
produce suds when rubbed in water.

  _Agave lechuguilla_    Amaryllis Family

[Illustration: LECHUGUILLA]

                              17. Canaigre

This coarse, herbacious perennial is one of the early spring flowers of
the desert, sometimes blooming along road shoulders and in sandy washes
in late February and March. Commonly called wild rhubarb, its sap and
roots are high in tannin content, and its delicately pink fruits are
more attractive than the blossoms. Indians and Mexicans use the leaves
for greens. Papago Indians of Arizona roast the leaves and use the roots
for treating colds and sore throat. This plant is a close relative of
European dock, several species of which have become naturalized in North

  _Rumex hymenosepalus_    Buckwheat Family

[Illustration: CANAIGRE]

                       18. Trailing-four-o’clock

Blossoming from April to October, trailing allionia, known in some
places as “trailing four o’clock” or “windmills,” is a spreading annual
with small but colorful blossoms on long, trailing stems. The prostrate
branches are sticky, so are often covered with grains of sand and flecks
of mica. What appears to be one blossom is actually three flowers,
giving it the name “pink three-flower.” It is found on dry, sandy
benches throughout desert regions of the Southwest. Fruits are winged.

  _Allionia incarnata_    Four o’clock Family


                            19. Sand-verbena

One of the early spring flowers, sand-verbena creates spectacular mass
displays, sometimes alone, usually intermingling with other colorful
early bloomers such as bladderpod and sundrops, which grow on road
shoulders and sandy flats. The flowers are delicately fragrant,
especially at night. Semi-prostrate in habit, sand-verbena leaves are
covered with a dense growth of short, soft hairs which retard the loss
of moisture so essential to desert plants. This annual is common from
southern California and southern Arizona into Sonora.

  _Abronia villosa_    Four o’clock Family

[Illustration: SAND-VERBENA]

                         20. Mexican goldpoppy

Closely related to the orange California-poppy, official flower of the
Golden State, the desert species is a bright yellow annual. Following
warm, wet winters clusters of these glorious blooms dot the hillsides in
late February or early March. By April they may cover the slopes with a
blanket of gold interwoven with the blue threads of lupines and purple
patches of escobita owlclover. When other early spring vegetation is
scarce, cattle graze the plants. Flowers open only during sunny hours,
remaining tightly closed at night and on cloudy days.

  _Eschscholtzia mexicana_    Poppy Family


                            21. Pricklepoppy

Not restricted to a desert habitat, this spiny-leafed perennial is
widespread on dry soils from Nebraska to Wyoming and from Texas to
southern California and Mexico. Abundant throughout the summer, the
flowers may be found, in warm climates, during every month of the year.
Copious spines and the acrid yellow sap make the plants distasteful to
cattle, so a heavy growth of pricklepoppy may be an indicator of an
overgrazed range. Also called “thistlepoppy,” a single plant may be
graced by a dozen or more fragile flowers, each ready to be replaced by
one or more prickly buds. The seeds are said to contain a powerful

  _Argemone platyceras_    Poppy Family

[Illustration: PRICKLEPOPPY]

                          22. Evening-primrose

Also known as “yellow cups,” this plant is limited in its range to the
Mohave-Colorado Desert. Having smaller blossoms than the goldpoppy with
which it might be confused, this showy annual blooms March to May in dry
washes and on stony hills below 4,500 feet. The foot-high plants
sometimes form massed displays accented by splashes of bright red where
clumps of beavertail pricklypear mark small, rocky islands, or where
patches of ocotillos wave their scarlet-tipped wands in the spring

  _Oenothera brevipes_    Evening-primrose Family

[Illustration: EVENING-PRIMROSE]

                            23. Spectaclepod

Found at elevations above 1,000 feet, spectaclepod is one of the
long-flowering species blooming from February to October. The large
flower heads are pleasantly fragrant, and the peculiar, flat, double
fruits resemble tiny spectacles protruding at right angles to the stem.
This species is found in the Petrified Forest area of northern Arizona,
and Hopi Indians are reported to use the plant in treating wounds.
Another species, California spectaclepod, is often abundant, covering
sandy flats of the lower deserts. This species blooms from February
through April and sometimes again in the fall.

  _Dithyrea wislizenii_    Mustard Family

[Illustration: SPECTACLEPOD]

                             24. Bladderpod

Another early bloomer, February to May, bladderpod is one of the first
spring flowers to spread its yellow carpet across the desert flats. The
small, low-growing plants lift numerous clusters of four-petaled
flowers, forming an understory of color among the taller herbs. In some
localities, bladderpods are called “beadpods” because of the spherical
fruits. The plants afford good forage for cattle. A close relative, with
white to purple flowers, is found from Texas to Arizona and Mexico,
starting to blossom in January during warm winters.

  _Lesquerella gordonii_    Mustard Family

[Illustration: BLADDERPOD]

                         25. Western-wallflower

A showy plant with a large terminal cluster of four-petaled flowers, it
is frequently called “desert wallflower.” When growing under shrubs it
often extends its stems 2 feet or more to reach up into the sunshine.
Usually blossoming in March, some plants may be found blooming at almost
any time during the summer to as late as September.

  _Erysimum capitatum_    Mustard family


                           26. False-mesquite

With mimosa-like leaves and long-stamened flowers growing in clusters,
false-mesquite, “calliandra,” or “fairy duster” is a small, straggling
bush, quite Japanesy in appearance, from a few inches to 3 feet high. It
blossoms from February to May, and is quite common below 5,000 feet from
west Texas to southern California and northern Mexico. In California it
is especially abundant along the east side of the Chocolate Mountains.
During periods of drought the leaves enter a state of continued wilt,
but revive promptly when rain comes.

  _Calliandra eriophylla_    Pea Family

[Illustration: FALSE-MESQUITE]

                           27. Catclaw-acacia

Also known by such descriptive names as “tear-blanket” and
“wait-a-minute,” catclaw acacia is one of the notoriously thorny shrubs
or small slender trees of the rocky hillsides and borders of desert
washes. Flowers are fragrant and, during the blooming period in May,
attract many insects, including honey bees, which gather and store
nectar that makes high quality honey. The stringbean-like fruits turn
red in late summer and, if abundant, make a spectacular show. These
fruits were ground into meal and used for food by Arizona and Mexican
Indians. Thickets of catclaw acacia provide havens of refuge for birds
and rabbits pursued by hawks or other predators.

  _Acacia greggii_    Pea Family

[Illustration: CATCLAW-ACACIA]

                           28. Mescat-acacia

Armed with long, slender, straight white spines, giving it the name
“white-thorn,” this pretty flowering shrub is abundant over large areas
of dry slopes and mesas from Texas to Arizona and Mexico at 2,300 to
5,000 feet. It is often used as a decorative in landscape plantings
around buildings. Blossoms are fragrant and sometimes continue from May
to August; the shrub occasionally blooming again in November. Cattle and
horses eat the bean-like fruits.

  _Acacia constricta_    Pea Family

[Illustration: MESCAT-ACACIA]

                           29. Honey mesquite

Mesquite (mess-KEET) is a many-branched tree 15 to 23 feet tall, which
flowers from late April to June. It is common bordering desert washes,
often forming dense thickets. The flowers furnish honey bees and other
insects with nectar, and the long, sweet pods ripen in autumn, providing
food for livestock. The fruits have long been a staple in the diet of
desert Indians, who used the trunks, roots, and branches of the trees
for firewood and the dried gum-like sap to mend pottery and as a black
dye. The inner bark provided the Indians with materials for basketry and
coarse fabrics. Roots of mesquite trees have been reported to penetrate
to a depth of 50 to 60 feet to tap sources of ground water.

  _Prosopis juliflora_    Pea Family

[Illustration: HONEY MESQUITE]

                               30. Senna

Blossoming from April to October, this species is common at elevations
between 1,000 and 3,000 feet Nevada to New Mexico, Arizona, California,
and northwestern Mexico. There are fifteen or more other species, many
of which are found in a desert habitat and range in size from
low-growing herbs to small shrubs 3-5 feet high. Senna is sometimes
called “rattlebox” because the nearly ripe seeds rattle in their woody
pods when the plant is stirred, startling the hiker who immediately
thinks “rattlesnake!” A closely related species, _leptocarpa_, is noted
for its foul-smelling foliage.

  _Cassia covesii_    Pea Family

[Illustration: SENNA]

                          31. Blue palo-verde

Perhaps the most dependable of spring bloomers, blue palo-verde trees
cover themselves with masses of yellow blossoms in April and May.
Usually found alongside desert washes, they mark these ephemeral stream
courses as paths of gold threading the open desert. During much of the
year the trees are relatively leafless, the green bark of trunk and
branches taking over the function of leaves. The word _palo-verde_
(PAH-low-VEHR-dee) means “green stick” in Spanish, referring to the
color of the bark.

  _Cercidium floridum_    Pea Family

[Illustration: BLUE PALO-VERDE]

                      32. Bird-of-Paradise-flower

Not a southwestern desert native, this striking shrub, 3 to 10 feet
high, was introduced from South America and has escaped from cultivation
to establish itself in parts of the desert where conditions are
suitable. The blossoms are showy but ill-smelling, and are popular as
ornamentals about homes, especially in Mexico. The shrub’s principal
advantage in landscape plantings is its long blossoming period, which
sometimes lasts from April to September.

  _Caesalpinia gilliesii_    Pea Family


                               33. Lupine

This is but one of many species of lupine, both annual and perennial,
common throughout the West at nearly all elevations. Perhaps the most
publicized is the “Texas” lupine, or “bluebonnet,” hailed by Texans as
their State flower. Desert species are early bloomers, sometimes
appearing in protected sandy soils and on highway shoulders in January.
In favorable seasons masses of these handsome blue to violet blossoms
color desert hillsides with acres of fragrant bloom. Sometimes growing
in pure stands, often mixed with a variety of other spring flowers,
lupines may usually be found blossoming as late as June.

  _Lupinus sparsiflorus_    Pea Family

[Illustration: LUPINE]

                           34. Adonis lupine

Considered one of the more handsome of the desert perennials, the
“adonis” lupine, as it is known in southern California, is found near
sandy washes in the high desert. It is especially abundant in Joshua
Tree National Monument. The name _adonis_ refers to its great beauty.
The name _lupinus_ is derived from the Latin _lupus_ meaning wolf,
because these plants were at one time thought to be soil predators.
Actually, as with other members of the pea family, lupines are able to
take atmospheric nitrogen and leave it in the ground, thereby increasing
rather than depleting soil fertility.

  _Lupinus excubitus_    Pea Family

[Illustration: ADONIS LUPINE (by Jaeger)]

                            35. Smoke-thorn

Better known as “smoketree,” this silvery-gray, seemingly leafless shrub
grows in and along sandy washes below 1,500 feet, throughout the
Mojave-Colorado Desert. At a distance it resembles a plume of smoke
rising from a campfire. Its small but violet to indigo flowers cover it
with a gorgeous blue blanket in May, making it one of the really
handsome desert shrubs. It requires ample supplies of water, hence is
restricted to washes that carry runoff from both winter rains and summer
downpours. The seeds sprout readily, and the seedlings with their
well-formed leaves look very unlike their parents. Few seedlings survive
the hazards of drought or being smothered by sand carried down the
washes by flash floods following cloudbursts.

  _Dalea spinosa_    Pea Family

[Illustration: SMOKE-THORN]

                               36. Dalea

Noted for its royal purple flowers, this low shrub, less than 3 feet
high with peculiar zig-zag branches, blossoms from April to June. In
common with other daleas (day-LEE-ahs) it is usually called “indigobush”
or “peabush.” It is normally found below 3,000 feet in desert mountain
ranges from southern Utah through Arizona and southeastern California.
There are many species of dalea in the desert, all characterized by deep
blue to indigo and rose-violet flowers, which attract attention by their
beauty. Indians used the extract from twigs for dyeing basketry.

  _Dalea fremontii_    Pea Family

[Illustration: DALEA]

                               37. Tesota

Thriving only in a frost-free climate, this is among the largest and
most beautiful of desert evergreen trees. It is usually found along
sandy washes, mingling with mesquites and paloverdes. It is particularly
susceptible to mistletoe infestation, which has killed or weakened many
fine trees. Blossoming in May and June, the trees are sometimes laden
with lavender, wisteria-like flowers. The wood is extremely hard and
heavy, hence the tree is locally known as “ironwood,” or
_palo-de-hierro_, in Mexico. Indians ate the seeds and used the wood for
tool handles and arrow-points. Its long-burning qualities made it
especially desirable for fuel. As a result, many of the trees have been
cut, making it one of the species threatened with extinction.

  _Olneya tesota_    Pea Family

[Illustration: TESOTA]

                            38. Woolly loco

Many species of “locoweed” ranging in color from deep purple to creamy
white are found throughout the desert at nearly all elevations. They
sometimes create extensive mass displays but are more commonly found
mixed with other flowers. Species with bladder-like pods are called
“rattleweed.” Loco in Spanish means “crazy” and refers to the fact that
a number of species of _astragalus_ contain selenium, which causes a
serious disease among livestock, especially horses, that eat it and as a
result “act crazy.”

  _Astragalus mollissimus_    Pea Family

[Illustration: WOOLLY LOCO]

                             39. Heron-bill

Also called “alfileria,” this species and its close relative, Texas
filaree (_Erodium texanum_) are both early blossoming annuals, often
widespread on plains and mesas, February to May. The flowers, although
abundant, are small and so hidden in low-growing foliage that they
rarely create a mass display. Texas filaree is native to North America,
but alfileria is thought to have come from Europe with the Spaniards,
and is now naturalized throughout the Southwest. Corkscrew-like
appendages of the fruits are tightly twisted when dry, but untwist when
moist, literally screwing the sharp-pointed fruits into the soil. Both
species are excellent spring forage for livestock.

  _Erodium cicutarium_    Geranium Family

[Illustration: HERON-BILL]

                            40. Creosotebush

Often erroneously called “greasewood,” creosotebush is generally
recognized as the most adaptable of all desert plants, and a definite
indicator of the Lower Sonoran Life Zone. The shrubs cover thousands of
square miles, often in pure stands, and flower throughout much of the
year, but most profusely in April and May. Fuzzy white, globular fruits
are almost as spectacular as the flowers. The plant can endure long
periods of drought. Following rains its foliage gives off a musty,
resinous odor, suggestive of creosote, stimulating the Mexican name
_hediondilla_ (little stinker). In Mexico the plant is considered to
have medicinal values and many uses. The Pima Indians boiled the leaves,
using the decoction as an emetic and to poultice sores. They used the
lac, found as an incrustation on the branches, to cement arrow-points
and to mend pottery.

  _Larrea tridentata_    Caltrop Family

[Illustration: CREOSOTEBUSH]

                           41. Arizona-poppy

Often abundant on road shoulders and in low spots where rainwater from
hot-weather showers provides adequate moisture, “caltrop” or
“summerpoppy,” with large blossoms and attractive compound leaves,
decorates the desert when other flowers are noticeable by their absence.
The long, weak stems, usually prostrate, give the plants a vine-like
appearance, but when growing under shrubs they extend upward so that the
shrub is mistakenly thought to be blooming. Superficially resembling the
springtime goldpoppy, Arizona-poppy has five rather than four petals,
and may be found in bloom as late as October.

  _Kallstroemia grandiflora_    Caltrop Family

[Illustration: ARIZONA-POPPY]

                           42. Desert-mallow

Ranging in size from delicate 6-inch annuals to coarse, woody perennials
4 feet high, the globemallows vary in color from creamy white to pink,
rose, peach, and lavender. Desert-mallows flaunt their graceful,
blossom-covered stems along roadsides or on the banks of sandy washes.
Because some people are allergic to them, globemallows are called
“sore-eye poppies” in parts of southern Arizona, and in Lower California
are known as _plantas muy malas_ (very bad plants).

  _Sphaeralcea ambigua_    Mallow Family

[Illustration: DESERT-MALLOW]

                        43. Five-stamen tamarisk

Sometimes confused with tamarack because of the similarity of names,
five-stamen tamarisk, locally called “salt-cedar,” is one of several
small tree species from southeastern Europe and western Asia which have
become naturalized in North America. “Salt-cedar” often forms dense
thickets on alkaline soils along stream and reservoir banks at
elevations below 5,000 feet. Flowers, which vary in hue from deep pink
to white, cover the trees with graceful plumes of color from March to
August. Although valuable in retarding soil erosion, tamarisk requires
large quantities of water, an especially undesirable characteristic in
the arid Southwest.

  _Tamarix pentandra_    Tamarix Family


                          44. Yellow mentzelia

Many species of _mentzelia_, all herbs, occur in the West. Barbed hairs
cover leaves and stems, causing the plant to cling to what it touches,
hence a common name “stick-leaf.” Flowers grow at ends of branches, and
some species open fully only in sunlight. A close relative, _Mentzelia
involucrata_, “sand blazing-star,” is an annual, 4 to 16 inches high,
blooming February through April, found in sandy washes below 3,000 feet
in southwestern Arizona, southeastern California, and northern Sonora.
_Pumila_ grows in dry stream beds and on roadsides from 100 to 8,000
feet elevation, flowering February to October. It ranges from Wyoming
and Utah to southeastern California and Northern Mexico.

  _Mentzelia pumila_    Loasa Family

[Illustration: YELLOW MENTZELIA]

                            45. Rock-nettle

Also called “stingbush,” this low, rounded bush is usually found growing
from crevices in cliffs. When covered with large blossoms from April to
September the plant has a striking appearance. The pale green leaves are
covered with stinging hairs, strong enough to impale such small
creatures as bats emerging from cave entrances where they grow.
Rock-nettle is common in desert ranges of southeastern California,
especially in the Death Valley area, to western Arizona and southern

  _Eucnide urens_    Loasa Family

[Illustration: ROCK-NETTLE]

                       46. Night-blooming cereus

Easily overlooked, when not in blossom, as a group of slender, fluted,
gray-green stems hidden beneath a shrub, this cactus is truly a glorious
thing when in flower. Beauty and fragrance of its blossoms have earned
it the name, in Mexico, of _reina-de-la-noche_, meaning

Buds unfold soon after sunset in late June or early July, perfuming the
desert air and attracting night-flying insects. They wilt soon after
sunrise the following morning. The large, tuberous root, which serves as
a water-storage organ, usually weighs from 5 to 15 pounds, but specimens
have been found weighing more than 80 pounds. Indians at one time dug
the tubers for food. The bulbous fruits become red when mature, and are
almost as spectacular as the flowers. This species is found from west
Texas to western Arizona and northern Mexico.

  _Peniocereus greggii_    Cactus Family


                              47. Saguaro

Largest of the cactuses in the United States, the saguaro (suh-WAR-oh)
is limited in its principal range to southern Arizona and northern
Mexico. Although rarely exceeding 30 feet in height, specimens 50 feet
tall and weighing up to 10 tons, are on record. Blossoms form as huge
bud clusters at the branch tips, opening a few at a time each night,
usually in May, and remain open until mid-afternoon of the following
day. Fruits of the saguaro are eaten by birds and other animals, and at
one time were important in the diet of desert Indians. The state flower
of Arizona and the subject of a US. postage stamp issued in February
1962 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood, the
saguaro is also commemorated and protected in the National Monument of
that name near Tucson.

  _Carnegiea gigantea_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: SAGUARO]

                          48. Organpipe cactus

Limited in its range to northwestern Mexico and the vicinity of Organ
Pipe Cactus National Monument in southwestern Arizona, this columnar
cactus grows in clumps of spine-covered stems, some of which may be 10
to 15 feet in height, rarely branching, and with no central trunk.
Blossoms open at or near the stem ends during May nights, and close the
following day. The spine-covered fruits, about the size and shape of a
hen’s egg, have long been harvested by the Papago Indians, who boil the
sweet juice to the consistency of syrup and store the pulp and seeds for
winter food. The fruits are locally called _pitahaya dulce_, or sweet
cactus fruit.

  _Lemaireocereus thurberi_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: ORGANPIPE CACTUS]

                       49. Claretcup echinocereus

Not only are there many species of _Echinocereus_, popularly called the
“hedgehog cactuses,” but there are also several varieties of
_Echinocereus triglochidiatus_. One variety sometimes develops into
cushion-like mounds composed of several hundred oblong stems huddled
together with a seemingly precarious foothold in crevices among the
rocks or on rocky slopes of the Mojave desert. Another grows in loose
clusters of cylindrical stems in the higher desert grasslands up to the
oak belt in the mountains of southern New Mexico, Arizona, and northern
Mexico. When blossoming in May and June these clustering “hedgehogs”
create a spectacular display.

  _Echinocereus triglochidiatus_    Cactus Family


                      50. Strawberry echinocereus

One of the more common species of “hedgehog,” sometimes called
“Engelmann echinocereus,” the strawberry echinocereus grows as 2 to 12
or more robust, cylindrical stems up to a foot in height, among the
creosote bushes and bur-sages of the Sonoran and Mojave-Colorado
Deserts, flowering from February to May. Flowers close at night and
reopen the following morning. Blossoms vary considerably in color from
purple to lavender. Spines, too, are variable, from gray and yellow to
dark brown. In southeastern California, where it is common, this species
is called “calico cactus” because of its many-colored spines. Fruits of
some varieties (of which there are many) are edible, forming an
important item in the diet of birds and rodents.

  _Echinocereus engelmanii_    Cactus Family


                        51. Rainbow echinocereus

Far from common but among the more beautiful of the “hedgehogs” is the
rainbow echinocereus, also called “rainbow cactus,” so named because of
the horizontal bands of alternating red and white spines encircling the
single, sturdy stem. It grows in rocky situations in the mountains of
southern Arizona and northern Mexico, blossoming from June to August.
The large flowers, of which there may be from one to four crowding
around the crown of the plant, are often larger than the plant itself.
Spines are small and lie densely flat over the somewhat fluted stem,
which is from 3 to 14 inches high.

  _Echinocereus pectinatus_    Cactus Family


                     52. Yellow pitaya echinocereus

Sometimes called “Texas golden rainbow,” the yellow pitaya of the
Chihuahuan Desert is similar in appearance, except for the color of its
blossoms, to the rainbow echinocereus. Quite common in portions of Big
Bend National Park, the Stubby, upright stems usually grow singly but
sometimes occur in small clusters. The term _pitaya_ or _pitahaya_ is
commonly applied along the Mexican border to cactuses bearing edible
fruits. In Texas the term refers to the low-growing floral hedgehogs; in
Arizona to the columnar cactuses. Pricklypear cactuses having soft,
juicy, edible fruit are known as _tunas_.

  _Echinocereus dasyacanthus_    Cactus Family


                           53. Barrel cactus

Massive, cylindrical, and covered with clusters of stout spines, the
central one hook-shaped, these desert giants are often mistaken for
young saguaros. There are several species, all locally called
_bisnagas_, with some quite small and others attaining a height of 5 or
6 feet. The majority produce clusters of orange to red flowers on their
crowns in late summer, but the yellow-flowered California barrel cactus
blossoms in the spring. Their tendency to lean toward the light causes
many of these heavy-bodied plants to tip in a southwesterly direction,
giving them the name “compass cactus.” This group is naively believed by
some people to contain water. Actually the slimy, alkaline sap obtained
by mashing the pulpy flesh might conceivably save someone lost in the
desert from dying of thirst. The pale yellow fruits are not spiney, and
are eaten by birds, rodents, deer, and other desert animals.

  _Ferocactus wislizenii_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: BARREL CACTUS]

                          54. Fishhook cactus

There are a number of species of the low-growing, usually dome-shaped
mammillarias, the solitary kinds often so small as to be overlooked
except when blooming, in late spring or early summer. Some are known as
“fishhook cactuses” because of their long, slender, hooked spines,
others as “pin-cushion cactuses” because of the shape of the plants. The
large, colorful blossoms which encircle the stems mature usually to red,
in some species green, nipple-shaped fruits. Members of this genus are
widespread in grasslands or rocky mesas and slopes throughout the

  _Mammillaria microcarpa_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: FISHHOOK CACTUS]

                         55. Beavertail cactus

Limited in its principal range to the Mojave-Colorado Desert, the
beavertail is a low-growing species with flat joint-pads and
bluish-green stems without spines. In their place are clusters of
brownish spicules set in slight depressions in the wrinkled pads. The
plants blossom in March and April, adding materially to the color of the
spring flower display. The plants thrive in sandy desert soils, at
elevations from 200 to 3,000 feet above sea level, and are found as far
east in Arizona as Wickenburg. Cahuilla Indians cook the fruits with
meat, and Panamint Indians dry the pads and boil them with salt.

  _Opuntia basilaris_    Cactus Family


                       56. Engelmann pricklypear

Most widely distributed of the pricklypears, Engelmann plants are large
and spreading, sometimes forming spiney bushes 3 to 5 feet high and up
to 15 feet in diameter. The branching stems may have from 5 to 12
pad-joints. Flowering in April and May, the petals at first are yellow
but turn to pink or rose with age. The plants prefer washes and benches
in the desert grasslands, often growing with paloverdes, saguaros,
mesquites, and lechuguilla agaves. Excessive abundance often indicates
an overgrazed range. Fruits, called _tunas_, are purple to mahogany when
mature, and are eaten by many birds and rodents, as well as by desert

  _Opuntia engelmannii_    Cactus Family


                           57. Jumping cholla

Also known as “silver cholla” (CHOY-AH) and “teddybear cactus,” this
stocky bush cactus, with a short sturdy trunk and compact, densely
spined crown, is common on hot rocky, south-facing hillsides. Joints are
extremely brittle and the barbed spines catch so easily in the hair of
animals or clothing of persons that the joints appear to jump from the
plant. Joints broken off by the wind fall to the ground and take root in
the sandy soil, gradually developing forests of this striking cactus,
easily recognized by the silvery sheen of the spines. The attractive
flowers which appear from March to May blend inconspicuously with the
spiney joints.

  _Opuntia bigelovii_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: JUMPING CHOLLA]

                           58. Pencil cholla

Common along banks of washes and on desert flats, this cholla, also
called “tesajo,” or “Christmas cholla,” is so slender-stemmed and
sprawling in growth habit that it is easily overlooked in a tangle of
vegetation. Its flowers, appearing in May and June, are small and
inconspicuous, but the orange to scarlet fruits about the size and shape
of olives, are striking eye-catchers in the fall and winter months. In
the open the shrubby plants are rarely more than 2 feet high, but in
thickets of northern Mexico some have become almost vinelike, growing up
through mesquite or paloverde trees to a height of 12 feet or more. The
species grows at elevations of 200 to 5,000 feet from Texas to western
Arizona and northern Mexico.

  _Opuntia leptocaulis_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: PENCIL CHOLLA]

                           59. Whipple cholla

This low-growing cholla of the higher desert above 3,500 feet, is
characteristic of the plateau grasslands, forming mats of short but
erect stems usually less than 2 feet high. It blossoms in June and July.
The tender young stems and yellow, fleshy fruits are browsed by
pronghorns, and the fruits are also used by the Hopi Indians for food
and as a seasoning. Because of its customary low-growing habit it is
something of a hazard to hikers. It is considered the most widely
distributed cholla in Arizona.

  _Opuntia whipplei_    Cactus Family

[Illustration: WHIPPLE CHOLLA]

                        60. Walkingstick cholla

Flowering in May and June and common throughout southwestern New Mexico,
southern Arizona, and northern Mexico, the walkingstick cholla is best
known because of its persistent clusters of yellow fruits. These remain
throughout the winter, giving persons the first-glance impression that
the large shrubby cactus, sometimes 8 feet high, is in bloom. The fruits
are eaten by cattle. This species is typical of desert grasslands and is
most abundant in the open country below the edge of the oak belt in
desert mountains. Stems of the dead plants leave a hollow cylinder of
attractive wooden meshes when the soft tissues decay, and are favored
for making canes, as the stem is long and straight, hence the name
walkingstick cholla.

  _Opuntia spinosior_    Cactus Family


                          61. Evening-primrose

Also called “sun-drops,” these plants are particularly welcome because
they bloom early in the springtime. Many species of evening-primrose are
large flowered, abundant along roadsides and sandy flats, and notably
fragrant. White-flowered species are more common, but there are several
with yellow flowers. Blossoms open at night and begin to wilt, turning
pink during the following day. These are among the handsomest of desert
plants and during favorable years make a spectacular spring display,
sometimes growing with goldpoppies and sandverbenas to produce a riot of

  _Oenothera trichocalyx_    Evening-primrose Family

[Illustration: EVENING-PRIMROSE]

                              62. Ocotillo

Common to all of the deserts crossed by the boundary between the United
States and Mexico, ocotillo (oh-koh-TEE-yoh) is a spectacular shrub, its
many long, stiff, green-barked and thorn-guarded stems bearing at their
tips clusters of bright red flowers from April to June. Following rains,
the stems cover themselves with clusters of bright green leaves. When
drought comes these leaves are shed, to be renewed again after another
rain. This procedure may be repeated half a dozen times in one year.
Cahuilla Indians eat both flowers and seeds, and make a beverage by
soaking the blossoms in water. When planted as hedgerows the thorny
wands make an impenetrable fence.

  _Fouquieria splendens_    Ocotillo Family

[Illustration: OCOTILLO]

                          63. Field bind-weed

Also known as “wild morning glory,” this naturalized perennial has
become a serious agricultural pest throughout the Southwest. In
California it is considered the State’s worst weed. Once established,
its deep root system spreads widely, sending up shoots that grow rapidly
with climbing, vine-like stems and morning glory-like white to pink
flowers that bloom from May to July. In the desert it is usually found
on road shoulders, where it makes an attractive display. The name
_convolvulus_ comes from the Latin and means “to entwine.” A
blood-clotting substance has been found in this plant.

  _Convolvulus arvensis_    Convolvulus Family

[Illustration: FIELD BIND-WEED]

                           64. Santa Fe phlox

Usually found in desert mountain ranges, at elevations between 5,000 and
6,000 feet, this ground-hugging, herbaceous perennial blossoms in May
and June. Flowers are larger than those of the several other desert
species of phlox, most of which have longer flower stems and vary in
color from white to purple.

  _Phlox nana_    Phlox Family

[Illustration: SANTA FE PHLOX]

                             65. Starflower

More commonly known as “gilia” in honor of the eighteenth-century
Italian botanist Felippo Luigo Gilii, the many species of gilias are
common and widespread throughout the deserts of the Southwest at nearly
all elevations. Since the flowers are usually small and range in color
from white to lavender, pink, and yellow, they are not as well known as
more spectacular genera. Some are annuals but there are also many
perennial species. Starflower is found from west Texas and Chihuahua to
western Arizona at elevations from 1,000 to 8,000 feet on dry plains and
mesas, especially on limestone soils. It blossoms from March to October.

  _Gilia longiflora_    Phlox Family

[Illustration: STARFLOWER]

                              66. Phacelia

Known also as “scorpionweed” and “wild heliotrope,” phacelia is a
handsome plant with coarse foliage, somewhat hairy and sticky. Among
other plants it often grows to a height of 18 inches, but on dry, open
desert flats is usually much shorter. Flowers, which may be found from
February to June, are sweet scented, but the foliage has a disagreeable
odor. _Crenulata_, which is one of many species, grows from New Mexico
and southern Utah throughout Arizona to Lower California. It is
conspicuous among the spring-blooming flowers of the desert. The curling
flower heads which bear some resemblance to the erect tail of a scorpion
are responsible for the name “scorpionweed.”

  _Phacelia crenulata_    Waterleaf Family

[Illustration: PHACELIA]

                                67. Nama

In favorable years these ground-hugging plants form broad, colorful
mats, but in dry seasons these annuals may be tiny, each with a single
flower almost as large as the rest of the plant. Flowering from February
to May, bloom is heaviest in March and April. This species, also called
“purplemat,” is common on flat, sandy, open desert soils from
southeastern California and Baja California to southeastern Arizona at
elevations below 3,500 feet. Because of its low-growing habit, nama
requires that you lie prone to examine it closely, hence is one of the
many small desert herbs called “bellyflowers.”

  _Nama demissum_    Waterleaf Family

[Illustration: NAMA]

                             68. Buffalobur

Believed to be the original host of the Colorado potato beetle, this
annual is a pest on rangelands because of its spine-covered stems and
fruits. Spines are long, straight, sharp, and straw-colored. It is
common on desert plains and mesas at elevations from 1,000 up to 7,000
feet, blooming from June to August. The leaves and unripe fruits of this
and several other species are reportedly poisonous, as they contain an
alkaloid, solanin.

  _Solanum rostratum_    Potato Family

[Illustration: BUFFALOBUR]

                       69. Silverleaf nightshade

Also known as “white horse-nettle,” “bull-nettle” and “trompillo,”
silverleaf nightshade is a showy plant when in blossom May to October
along roadsides and in open fields at elevations from 1,000 to 5,500
feet from Kansas and Colorado to Arizona, California, and south to
tropical America. It is an agricultural pest in irrigated areas,
difficult to eradicate. Pima Indians used the crushed fruits as an
additive to milk in making cheese. A close relative, _Solanum jamesii_
is known as wild-potato as it produces small tubers eaten by desert

  _Solanum elaeagnifolium_    Potato Family


                           70. Sacred datura

One of the really striking flowers of the deserts and mesas, the large,
showy, trumpet-shaped blossoms and broad, dark green leaves of the
datura or “western jimson” arouse the curiosity of persons seeing them
for the first time. Quite common along roadsides below 6,000 feet from
California to Texas and Mexico, the white blossoms remain open at night
but close and droop soon after sunrise. The summer-blooming plants often
grow in large clumps with buds, flowers, and maturing fruits all present
at the same time. Indians used the plants for various medicinal
purposes, a dangerous practice, since all parts of the plant contain
various alkaloids, including atropine. Roots are narcotic and were
sometimes eaten by Indians to induce visions.

  _Datura meteloides_    Potato Family

[Illustration: SACRED DATURA]

                            71. Tree tobacco

Sometimes growing to a height of 10 or 12 feet, the graceful swaying
branches of tree tobacco bear at their ends clusters of tubular,
greenish-yellow blossoms 2 to 3 inches long. The leaves contain the
alkaloid anabasine, which is poisonous to livestock. Leaves of the
closely related and much smaller desert tobacco, _Nicotiana
trigonophylla_, contain nicotine and have long been smoked by desert
Indians. The plant is still so used on ceremonial occasions. _Nicotiana_
was named for Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who introduced
tobacco to France about 1560.

  _Nicotiana glauca_    Potato Family

[Illustration: TREE TOBACCO]

                               72. Ceniza

Although restricted in its range to the Chihuahuan Desert, ceniza,
sometimes called silverleaf, is so spectacular when in blossom that it
invariably attracts attention and arouses interest. The small, abundant,
ash-gray leaves give this 3- to 4-foot shrub a distinguished appearance
throughout the year, but when it suddenly bursts into bloom, usually in
September, it becomes a thing of rare beauty. It is so sensitive to
moisture that it may blossom a few hours after a soaking rain, which
gives rise to the popular belief that it can forecast wet weather and in
consequence it is sometimes called “barometer bush.”

  _Leucophyllum frutescens_    Figwort Family

[Illustration: CENIZA]

                         73. Desert beardtongue

Penstemons, or “beard-tongues,” of various species are numerous on the
desert as well as throughout the higher, moister parts of the Southwest.
This one blooms in spring and early summer below 6,000 feet from
southwestern New Mexico to southern California. It, and the similar
Parry Penstemon, are among the more noticeable desert species because of
their showy flowers covering the clumps of erect stems two to four feet
tall. Both are fairly common on mesa slopes and mountain canyons with
individuals well scattered, hence not contributing to the mass flower
displays of the desert springtime.

  _Penstemon pseudospectabilis_    Figwort Family


                          74. Palmer penstemon

Known in southern California as “scented penstemon” because of its
fragrance, this regal “beardtongue” comes to the height of bloom in May.
However, it may be found in flower from March to September. When the
tall, flower-covered stems grow in abundance, as often occurs in
gravelly washes at elevations between 3,500 and 6,500 feet, the sight is
remarkable. This species prefers limestone soils in both the
Mojave-Colorado and Sonoran Deserts. The sweet nectar attracts bees.

  _Penstemon palmeri_    Figwort Family

[Illustration: PALMER PENSTEMON]

                             75. Paintbrush

Paintedcups, or “Indian paintbrushes” as they are more widely known, are
found from desert lowlands to snow-capped mountain tops. _Castilleja
linariaefolia_ is the State flower of Wyoming. The northwestern
paintbrush, known in southern California as “desert paintbrush,” has an
extremely wide range. The flash of red among other desert plants is
actually due to the brightly colored floral bracts, as the flowers
themselves are small and inconspicuous. This species blossoms in early
spring in rocky or gravelly locations between 2,000 and 7,000 feet, on
dry plains and hillsides.

  _Castilleja augustifolia_    Figwort Family

[Illustration: PAINTBRUSH]

                             76. Owl-clover

Owl-clover is one of the short-stemmed desert spring annuals which, in
favorable seasons, carpet the desert floor with a beautiful, colorful
mass display. Sometimes growing in pure stands, at others mixed with
goldpoppies, lupines, or other spring flowers, it is found throughout
southern Arizona, southern California, and Baja California, at
elevations between 1,500 and 4,500 feet, blossoming from March to May.
Cattle and sheep graze it extensively. The Spanish name _escobita_ means
“little broom.” Individual flowers are not conspicuous, but their
clusters intermixed with the colorful bracts produce a pretty, feathery

  _Orthocarpus purpurascens_    Figwort Family

[Illustration: OWL-CLOVER]

                           77. Desert-willow

More properly called “desert catalpa,” this tall shrub or small tree, 6
to 15 feet high, has willow-like leaves, spreading branches, and a
short, crooked, black-barked trunk. The violet-scented flowers usually
appear from April to August, often after the start of summer rains. They
are replaced by long, slender seed pods that remain dangling from the
branches for months. Mexicans make from the dried flowers a tea that
they believe has considerable medicinal value. Desert-willow is usually
found along desert washes below 4,000 feet from west Texas to southern
California and northern Mexico. It is frequently cultivated as an
ornamental because of its attractive orchid-like flowers.

  _Chilopsis linearis_    Bignonia Family

[Illustration: DESERT-WILLOW]

                            78. Trumpet-bush

A glossy-leafed shrub with golden, trumpet-shaped flowers, the
trumpet-bush blooms from May to October on dry, rocky hillsides between
elevations of 3,000 and 5,000 feet. It is not common, but occurs from
western Texas through southern New Mexico and Arizona southward into
tropical America. Trumpet-bush is cultivated as an ornamental in
southern parts of the United States and in Mexico. The roots are used
medicinally and in making a beverage. Stems and leaves contain small
quantities of rubber. The shrubs, which occasionally reach a height of 6
feet, are browsed by bighorn sheep and probably by deer.

  _Tecoma stans_    Bignonia Family

[Illustration: TRUMPET-BUSH]

                        79. Louisiana broomrape

Lacking chlorophyll and parasitic on the roots of bur-sage and other
desert composites, broomrape is so unusual in appearance as to attract
immediate attention. Although fairly common in low-elevation deserts
from west Texas and Mexico to southern California, it is occasionally
found as far north as southern Utah and Nevada and at elevations up to
7,000 feet. The rather inconspicuous flowers appear from February to
September. Navajo Indians made a decoction of the plant as a treatment
for sores. Desert Indians ate the tender stems in springtime.

  _Orobanche ludoviciana_    Broomrape Family


                            80. Coyote-melon

Restricted to western Arizona, southern California, and Lower
California, _palmata_ has similar-appearing relatives with much wider
distribution. Their large leaves and vine-like growth attract attention
along roadsides at elevations up to 7,000 feet. Most widespread of these
strikingly coarse perennials is _Cucurbita foetidissima_, the
buffalo-gourd or calabazilla. This rank-growing, ill-smelling vine-like
plant may have prostrate stems up to 20 feet long. The globular fruits,
of tennis ball size, were cooked by Indians or dried for winter
consumption. Seeds were boiled to form a pasty mush. California pioneers
used the crushed roots as a cleansing agent in washing clothes, but
found that particles clinging to the cloth were a skin irritant.

  _Cucurbita palmata_    Gourd Family

[Illustration: COYOTE-MELON]

                             81. Snake-weed

Common throughout the Southwest, particularly on overgrazed rangelands
and deserted clearings, this plant, also called “matchweed” or
“turpentine-weed,” often occurs in almost pure stands. The resinous
stems burn readily, throwing off black smoke. Most abundant on dry hills
and mesas, 3,000 to 6,000 feet elevation, this perennial is found from
1,000 to 7,000 feet, blossoming from June to October. Bees obtain nectar
and pollen from the small but densely crowded, yellow flower clusters.
The many stiff, upright branches cause some plants to appear almost
globular in shape and a foot to 2 feet in diameter. Plants of this genus
are reported as poisonous to sheep and goats if eaten in quantity, but
are apparently unpalatable, as they are rarely grazed.

  _Gutierrezia lucida_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: SNAKE-WEED]

                             82. Desertstar

Also known as “desert daisy” and “rock daisy,” this dwarf winter annual
grows on sandy or stony mesas at elevations below 3,500 feet, blossoming
from February through April. The short stems spread to form a mat or
rosette, 5 or 6 inches across, growing flat on the sand, and ornamented
with many small flowers, each set off by a small cluster of leaves.
Desertstar grows principally in southern Arizona and southern
California, but has been recorded from southern Utah and Sonora, Mexico.

  _Monoptilon bellioides_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: DESERTSTAR]

                            83. Mohave aster

Varying in color from violet and lavender to almost white, flower heads
of the Mohave aster are numerous, sometimes as many as 20 simultaneously
in bloom on one plant. This ornamental perennial prefers dry, rocky
slopes below 6,000 feet in southern Utah, Nevada, western Arizona, and
southeastern California. Characterized by silvery foliage and large
flower heads, the Mohave aster is well worthy of cultivation and does
well in hot, dry locations. Flowers appear from March to May, but with
the coming of summer heat the stems and leaves become twisted, brown,
and unattractive.

  _Aster abatus_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: MOHAVE ASTER]

                              84. Fleabane

By no means limited to the deserts, fleabane is common throughout the
Southwest, including parts of Mexico. In some localities it is known as
“wild-daisy.” Six to 15 inches tall, with attractive circular flowers,
fleabane often forms noticeable patches along road shoulders and on dry
open slopes, blossoming from February to October. Flowers may be an inch
in diameter in springtime, but those in summer are usually smaller. The
name arises from an ancient belief that the odor of some species
repelled fleas.

  _Erigeron divergens_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: FLEABANE]

                          85. Broom baccharis

Locally called “desert-broom,” or “Mexican broom,” this species of
baccharis is an erect, coarse, evergreen shrub 3 to 6 feet high,
frequently encountered on hillsides and bottomlands at elevations
between 1,000 and 5,500 feet from southwestern New Mexico to southern
and Baja California and northern Mexico. Greening up following summer
rains, the shrubs blossom from September to February. Flowers are
inconspicuous, but the fruits develop as masses of spectacular cottony
threads, giving the shrubs a snow-covered appearance. Among some Indian
tribes the twigs are chewed to relieve toothache. In Mexico the shrub is
called _hierba del pasmo_.

  _Baccharis sarothroides_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: BROOM BACCHARIS]

                           86. Desert zinnia

From 3 inches to a foot high, desert zinnia is a dwarf shrub with small,
stiff, dull green leaves and attractive, four-petaled flowers that are
present from April to October. Preferring clayey or rocky, arid soils at
elevations 2,500 to 5,000 feet, this species is found from west Texas to
southern Arizona and Mexico. Although related to the garden zinnia,
which is a native of Mexico, only the large flowered desert species,
_Zinnia grandiflora_, is considered worthy of cultivation.

  _Zinnia pumila_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: DESERT ZINNIA]

                            87. Brittle-bush

Sometimes blossoming as early as November and often lingering until May,
brittle-bush is a dome-shaped, winter-flowering bush that brings delight
to desert dwellers in Nevada, Arizona, southern California, and
northwestern Mexico. Stems of the low-growing, silvery-leaved shrub
exude a gum which was chewed by desert Indians and burned as incense by
priests in mission churches, giving the plant the local name,
_incienso_. Strictly a desert shrub, about 3 feet high, brittle-bush
prefers rocky hillsides below 3,000 feet. Growing in masses it often
covers entire slopes with a mass of golden bloom, contributing to the
early spring flower display. Bighorn sheep are reported to rely on this
species for browse.

  _Encelia farinosa_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: BRITTLE-BUSH]

                       88. Silverleaf enceliopsis

Restricted in its range to the region in which Utah, Arizona, and Nevada
meet, the “giant sunray,” as it is sometimes called, is spectacular
rather than beautiful. Coarse and weedy, the large clusters of silvery
leaves and long stemmed, sunflower-like blossoms that appear from April
to June invariably attract attention and stimulate curiosity. An even
larger species, _Enceliopsis covillei_, with blossoms up to 6 inches in
diameter, is found in canyons on the west side of the Panamint Mountains
in California.

  _Enceliopsis argophylla_    Sunflower Family


                            89. Crown-beard

Although it is reported from elevations up to 7,000 feet, golden
crown-beard is usually found at much lower levels from Kansas south to
Texas, California, and northern Mexico. Sometimes growing in clusters,
single plants are also common as a weed of roadsides and waste ground.
The all-yellow, sunflower-like blossoms are widespread in the desert
from April to November. Desert Indians and early pioneers are said to
have used the plant to treat boils and skin diseases. The Hopis soaked
the plants in water in which they bathed, to relieve the pain of insect

  _Verbesina encelioides_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: CROWN-BEARD]

                         90. Douglas coreopsis

Also called “tickseed,” wild coreopsis is closely related to cultivated
ornamentals of the same name. The desert species inhabits open locations
at elevations between 1,500 and 2,500 feet in southern Arizona, southern
California, and Baja California. Plants usually bloom between February
and May. The closely related _Coreopsis bigelovii_ is a southern
California annual having somewhat larger flowers, up to 2 inches in
diameter, with orange centers. Flower stems are naked, with the leaves
clustered at their bases.

  _Coreopsis douglasii_    Sunflower Family


                            91. Paperflower

At its best in sandy desert soil, paperflower is a compact, shrubby
plant about 1 foot high, with tangled branches. When fully developed it
is symmetrically globular in outline. It prefers mesas and desert plains
at elevations between 2,000 and 5,000 feet from western New Mexico to
southern California and northern Mexico, flowering throughout the year
but most abundantly in springtime. Sometimes called “paper-daisy,” the
flowers are persistent, fading to straw color and turning papery with
age. They may remain on the stems for weeks.

  _Psilostrophe cooperi_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: PAPERFLOWER]

                           92. Desert baileya

Commonly called “desert marigold,” baileya blossoms in all seasons, most
heavily from March to November, and is one of the better known flowers
of the Southwest. Each circular blossom occupies the tip of a foot-high
stem. Plants usually have a thrifty, garden-variety appearance. They are
common along roadsides and on well-drained, gravelly slopes up to 5,000
feet from west Texas to southeastern California and Chihuahua. The large
flower heads are showy and the species is cultivated in California.
Cases are on record of sheep and goats on overgrazed ranges being
poisoned by eating this plant.

  _Baileya multiradiata_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: DESERT BAILEYA]

                             93. Goldfields

Covering vast stretches of open desert with a carpet of yellow bloom
following wet winters, goldfields is an appropriately named spring
flower found at elevations below 4,500 feet. The low-growing plant
produces small but attractive blossoms on mesas and plains, March to
May, from central and southern Arizona to California, and Baja
California. Horses graze _Baeria_ avidly, but are annoyed by a small fly
that frequents the fragrant blossoms, giving the plant the name “fly
flower” in some localities.

  _Baeria chrysostoma_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: GOLDFIELDS]

                             94. Chaenactis

Probably because it is one of the attractive white desert flowers,
chaenactis is popularly called “morning bride.” A larger,
yellow-flowered species, _Chaenactis lanosa_, found on the California
deserts, is called “golden girls.” Both are spring flowering annuals
and, in common with other members of the genus, sometimes called
“pincushion plants.” “Morning bride” is often found growing about the
bases of creosotebushes, thriving at elevations between 1,000 and 3,500
feet in southern Nevada, western Arizona, and southeastern California.

  _Chaenactis fremontii_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: CHAENACTIS]

                         95. Douglas groundsel

Rarely considered beautiful, the groundsels are common and widespread,
and are readily recognized by the untidy appearance of the large flowers
which are sometimes almost 2 inches in diameter. The rather delicate,
stringy foliage is sometimes covered with cottony threads. One species
is called “ragwort.” Douglas groundsel is a shrubby plant sometimes as
much as 3 feet high, common in sandy washes and on dry foothill slopes.
It occurs from southern Utah and Arizona to California and Mexico,
between 1,000 and 6,000 feet. At lower elevations these plants bloom at
almost any time of year.

  _Senecio douglasii_    Sunflower Family


                         96. New Mexico thistle

Everyone recognizes the thistles with their prickly leaves and stems,
and large flowers ranging in color from white to lavender, pink and
purple. Several species grow in the deserts, the New Mexico species
being widespread at elevations from 1,000 to 6,000 feet in Colorado and
Nevada south through New Mexico and Arizona to California, blossoming
from March to September. Navajo and Hopi Indians are reported to use
thistles medicinally. The nectar of some species is eagerly sought by

  _Cirsium neomexicanum_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: NEW MEXICO THISTLE]

                          97. Desert dandelion

A very attractive plant, desert dandelion has several flower stalks from
a few inches to a foot tall. Some of the blossoms may be nearly 2 inches
in diameter. This annual is common in open, sandy basins, where it is a
conspicuous contributor to the spring flower spread, blooming from March
through May in the creosotebush belt of Arizona and southern California.
It has been reported from as far north as Idaho and Oregon. Sometimes a
single plant has 10 or 12 flower heads in blossom at the same time.

  _Malacothryx glabrata_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: DESERT DANDELION]

                            98. Malacothryx

There are many species of malacothryx native to the western and
southwestern United States. Some are locally called “desert dandelion,”
“snake’s head,” “yellow saucers,” and “cliff aster.” _Fendleri_ is one
of the smaller species, with stems only 4 or 5 inches long, rising from
a rosette of bluish-green leaves. Blooming from March to June, this
delicate relative of the common dandelion covers with its pale yellow
flowers rocky slopes and sandy plains and mesas, at elevations between
2,000 and 5,000 feet from West Texas to western Arizona.

  _Malacothryx fendleri_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: MALACOTHRYX]

                           99. White cupfruit

Also called “tackstem” because of the numerous dark-colored, tack-shaped
glands protruding from the stem, this white-flowered, branching annual
blossoms from March to May at elevations of 500 to 4,000 feet. It is a
conspicuous item of the spring flower display from west Texas to
southern California and northern Mexico. A similar species with yellow
flowers, _Calycoseris parryi_, common at elevations around 3,000 feet,
blooms in March and April. It is found in southwestern Utah, Arizona,
and southern California.

  _Calycoseris wrightii_    Sunflower Family

[Illustration: WHITE CUPFRUIT]

                        100. Prickly sowthistle

Naturalized from Europe and generally considered a weed, sowthistle is
found in waste grounds and along roadsides from near sea level to 8,000
feet. It blossoms from February to August, the flowers becoming cottony
seed heads as conspicuous as the blooms. A close relative, _Sonchus
oleraceus_, which blossoms from March to September, produces a gum from
the drying of the sap, reportedly a powerful cathartic. It has also been
used as a treatment for persons suffering from the habitual use of opium

  _Sonchus asper_    Sunflower Family


                  _Suggestions for Additional Reading_

  Armstrong, Margaret, _Field Book of Western Wild Flowers_, C. P.
  Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1915.

  Benson, Lyman, _The Cacti of Arizona_, University of Arizona Press,
  Tucson, 1950.

  Benson, Lyman, and Darrow, Robert, _The Trees and Shrubs of the
  Southwestern Deserts_, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque,
  N.M., 1954.

  Dodge, Natt, _Flowers of the Southwest Deserts_, Southwestern
  Monuments Association, Globe, Arizona, 1951.

  Hornaday, W. T., _Camp-fires on Desert and Lava_, Charles Scribner’s
  Sons, New York, 1909.

  Jaeger, Edmund C., _Desert Wild Flowers_, Stanford University Press,
  Stanford, California, 1956.

  Jaeger, Edmund C., _The North American Deserts_, Stanford University
  Press, Stanford, California, 1957.

  Lemmon, Robert S., and Johnson, Charles C., _Wildflowers of North
  America in Full Color_, Hanover House, Garden City, N.Y., 1961.

  Leopold, A. Starker, _The Desert_, (Life Nature Library) Time Inc.,
  New York, 1961.

  McDougall, W. B., and Sperry, Omer E., _Plants of Big Bend National
  Park_, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1951.

  Shreve, Forrest, and Wiggins, Ira L., _Vegetation and Flora of the
  Sonora Desert_, Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication No.
  591, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C., 1951.

  Vines, Robert A., _Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of the Southwest_,
  University of Texas Press, Austin, 1960.



  Adonis lupine                   _Lupinus excubitus_                34
  Agave                           _Agave scabra_                     14
  Arizona-poppy                   _Kallstroemia grandiflora_         41


  Barrel cactus                   _Ferocactus wislizenii_            53
  Beavertail cactus               _Opuntia basilaris_                55
  Bird-of-paradise-flower         _Caesalpinia gilliesii_            32
  Bladderpod                      _Lesquerella gordonii_             24
  Blue palo-verde                 _Cercidium floridum_               31
  Brittle-bush                    _Encelia farinosa_                 87
  Broom baccharis                 _Baccharis sarothroides_           85
  Buffalobur                      _Solanum rostratum_                68


  Canaigre                        _Rumex hymenosepalus_              17
  Catclaw-acacia                  _Acacia greggii_                   27
  Ceniza                          _Leucophyllum frutescens_          72
  Chaenactis                      _Chaenactis fremontii_             94
  Claretcup echinocereus          _Echinocereus triglochidiatus_     49
  Common reed                     _Phragmites communis_               2
  Coyote-melon                    _Cacurbita palmata_                80
  Creosotebush                    _Larrea tridentata_                40
  Crown-beard                     _Verbesina encelioides_            89


  Dalea                           _Dalea fremontii_                  36
  Desert baileya                  _Baileya multiradiata_             92
  Desert beardtongue              _Penstemon pseudospectabilis_      73
  Desert dandelion                _Malacothryx glabrata_             97
  Desertlily                      _Hesperocallis undulata_            4
  Desert-mallow                   _Sphaeralcea ambigua_              42
  Desert mariposa                 _Calochortus kennedyi_              7
  Desertstar                      _Monoptilon bellioides_            82
  Desert-willow                   _Chilopsis linearis_               77
  Desert zinnia                   _Zinnia pumila_                    86
  Douglas coreopsis               _Coreopsis douglasii_              90
  Douglas groundsel               _Senecio douglasii_                95


  Engelmann pricklypear           _Opuntia engelmannii_              56
  Evening-primrose                _Oenothera brevipes_               22
  Evening-primrose                _Oenothera trichocalyx_            61


  False-mesquite                  _Calliandra eriophylla_            26
  Field bind-weed                 _Convolvulus arvensis_             63
  Fishhook cactus                 _Mammillaria microcarpa_           54
  Five-stamen tamarisk            _Tamarix pentandra_                43
  Fleabane                        _Erigeron divergens_               84


  Giant yucca                     _Yucca carnerosana_                11
  Golden mariposa                 _Calochortus nuttalii aureus_       6
  Goldfields                      _Baeria chrysostoma_               93


  Heron-bill                      _Erodium cicutarium_               39
  Honey mesquite                  _Prosopis juliflora_               29


  Joshua-tree                     _Yucca brevifolia_                  9
  Jumping cholla                  _Opuntia bigelovii_                57


  Lechuguilla                     _Agave lechuguilla_                16
  Longleaf ephedra                _Ephedra trifurca_                  1
  Louisiana broomrape             _Orobanche ludoviciana_            79
  Lupine                          _Lupinus sparsiflorus_             33


  Malacothryx                     _Malacothryx fendleri_             98
  Mariposa                        _Calochortus flexuosus_             5
  Mescat-acacia                   _Acacia constricta_                28
  Mexican goldpoppy               _Eschscholtzia mexicana_           20
  Mohave aster                    _Aster abatus_                     83


  Nama                            _Nama demissum_                    67
  New Mexico thistle              _Cirsium neomexicanum_             96
  Night-blooming cereus           _Peniocereus greggii_              46


  Ocotillo                        _Fouquieria splendens_             62
  Organpipe cactus                _Lemaireocereus thurberi_          48
  Owl-clover                      _Orthocarpus purpurascens_         76


  Paintbrush                      _Castilleja angustifolia_          75
  Palmer penstemon                _Penstemon palmeri_                74
  Paperflower                     _Psilostrophe cooperi_             91
  Parry agave                     _Agave parryi_                     15
  Pencil cholla                   _Opuntia leptocaulis_              58
  Phacelia                        _Phacelia crenulata_               66
  Prairie spiderwort              _Tradescantia occidentalis_         3
  Pricklepoppy                    _Argemone platyceras_              21
  Prickly sowthistle              _Sonchus asper_                   100


  Rainbow echinocereus            _Echinocereus pectinatus_          51
  Rock-nettle                     _Eucnide urens_                    45


  Sacahuista                      _Nolina microcarpa_                12
  Sacred datura                   _Datura meteloides_                70
  Saguaro                         _Carnegiea gigantea_               47
  Sand-verbena                    _Abronia villosa_                  19
  Santa Fe phlox                  _Phlox nana_                       64
  Senna                           _Cassia covesii_                   30
  Silverleaf enceliopsis          _Enceliopsis argophylla_           88
  Silverleaf nightshade           _Solanum elaeagnifolium_           69
  Smoke-thorn                     _Dalea spinosa_                    35
  Snake-weed                      _Gutierrezia lucida_               81
  Soaptree yucca                  _Yucca elata_                       8
  Sotol                           _Dasylirion wheeleri_              13
  Spectaclepod                    _Dithyrea wislizenii_              23
  Starflower                      _Gilia longiflora_                 65
  Strawberry echinocereus         _Echinocereus engelmannii_         50


  Tesota                          _Olneya tesota_                    37
  Torrey yucca                    _Yucca torreyi_                    10
  Trailing-four-o’clock           _Allionia incarnata_               18
  Tree tobacco                    _Nicotiana glauca_                 71
  Trumpet-bush                    _Tecoma stans_                     78


  Walkingstick cholla             _Opuntia spinosior_                60
  Western-wallflower              _Erysimum capitatum_               25
  Whipple cholla                  _Opuntia whipplei_                 59
  White cupfruit                  _Calycoseris wrightii_             99
  Woolly loco                     _Astragalus mollissimus_           38


  Yellow mentzelia                _Mentzelia pumila_                 44
  Yellow pitaya echinocereus      _Echinocereus dasyacanthus_        52

This booklet is published in cooperation with the National Park Service
                                 by the
 _which is a non-profit distributing organization pledged to aid in the
preservation and interpretation of Southwestern features of outstanding
                          national interest._

The Association lists for sale many interesting and excellent
publications for adults and children and hundreds of color slides on
Southwestern subjects. These make fine gifts for birthdays, parties, and
special occasions, and many prove to be of value to children in their
school work and hobbies.

May we recommend, for example, the following items which give additional
information on the Southwest?

  FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST DESERTS. Dodge and Janish. More than 140 of
  the most interesting and common desert plants beautifully drawn in 100
  plates, with descriptive text. 112 pp., color cover, paper

  FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST MESAS. Patraw and Janish. Companion volume to
  the Desert flowers booklet, but covering the plants of the plateau
  country of the Southwest. 112 pp., color cover, paper

  FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS. Arnberger and Janish. Descriptions
  and illustrations of plants and trees of the southern Rocky Mountains
  and other Southwestern ranges above 7,000 feet elevation. 112 pp.,
  color cover, paper

  MAMMALS OF THE SOUTHWEST DESERTS (formerly Animals of the Southwest
  Deserts). Olin and Cannon. Handsome illustrations, full descriptions,
  and life habits of the 42 most interesting and common mammals, members
  of the strange animal population of the lower desert country of the
  Southwest below the 4,500-foot elevation. 112 pp., 60 illustrations,
  color cover, paper

  volume to Mammals of Southwest Deserts. Fully illustrated in
  exquisitely done line and scratchboard drawings, and written in Olin’s
  masterfully lucid style. Gives descriptions, ranges, and life habits
  of the better known Southwestern mammals of the uplands. 1961.

  Color cover, paper


  POISONOUS DWELLERS OF THE DESERT. Dodge. Invaluable handbook for any
  person living in the desert. Tells the facts about dangerous insects,
  snakes, etc., giving treatment for bites and stings and dispels myths
  about harmless creatures mistakenly believed poisonous. 48 pp.

    [Illustration: National Park Service and Southwestern Monuments
                           Association Logos]

                           Write For Catalog
                         MONUMENTS ASSOCIATION
                  Box 1562—Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona

Mother Nature’s Cinderella story—flower-time in The desert—unfolds in
this beautiful book. Captured by the magic of the color camera and
described in lucid prose, 100 desert wildflowers are vividly portrayed
here. Every color, from brilliant to delicate, is faithfully reproduced.
This book will be a treasured photo album for those who have known the
desert in bloom and a splendid introduction to the not yet initiated.

Natt N. Dodge, author of Poisonous Dwellers of The Desert, Flowers of
the Southwest Desert, and co-author of The American Southwest, as well
as contributor to Arizona Highways, New Mexico Magazine, Sunset, and
many other national and regional periodicals, has parlayed an
encyclopedic knowledge of the Southwest and years of photographic
experience into this truly magnificent book.

                     [Illustration: Cactus flowers]

        [Illustration: Southwestern Monuments Association Logo]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

--Corrected a few palpable typographical errors.

--Transcribed some text from illustrations, for the sake of the text

--Added a Table of Contents based on headings in the text.

--Added page numbers for convenient reference.

--In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

--Provided in {curly brackets} a conjectural completion of the truncated
  “Joshua Tree” entry, based on information from other published

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "100 Desert Wildflowers in Natural Color" ***

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