Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mojave Aster

The Mojave aster (xylorhiza tortifolia),
a member of the sunflower family, is found in the Mojave, Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and western Arizona.
The Great Basin Desert is colder than the Mojave and the Sonoran is hotter and drier.
It grows in all three deserts, but grows more abundantly in the Mojave.
The flower consists of many whitish-purple to whitish-lavender narrow rays or petals that surround a yellow disk.
The flowerhead grows up to two inches in diameter.
It usually blooms in March to May and after flowering, the plant dies back. It has long gray-green stems that remain leafless near the top.
It has hairy leaves that grow from the base.
A plant can have as many as 20 flowers.
I saw quite a few of them recently in Joshua Tree National Park.

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