Monday, April 12, 2010

Purple Mat

Purple mat, also known as purplemat,
grows more or less prostrate forming mats over the desert floor.
The name really describes it.
For the size of the plant, the flowers are large.
The flowers are rose and purple
with a widely flared funnel with five lobes.
They are only present after winters with good rains and are found on desert flats, rocky slopes and along washes in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, California and northern Mexico.
We saw it in El Pinacate Gran Desierto in Sonora, Mexico in a very barren area of lava covered flats. From a distance they provided a faint purple covering to the desert floor. 
We also saw it, to a much lesser extent, near the south (Cottonwood) boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.
It was much more sparse
and did not show up as well against the white gravelly background
as it did against the black lava background in El Pinacate.

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