Saturday, April 26, 2014

Panaminty Fresh

Ah, droughts.

Rain and writing.

Fortunately, California always has cures.

One such inspirational oasis on my recent roadtrip was the Panamint Mountains - the rain-shadowing range on the western edge of Death Valley National Park.

Seems a healthy dose of monsoon rains last summer and some well-timed touch-up showers this spring combined to kick up a darn decent localized bloom.

panamint scenes

panamint scenes

panamint scenes

panamint scenes

panamint scenes

panamint scenes
Monet would have definitely braked for this scene - Apricot Mallow and J-trees

For many botany geeks, a trip to the Panamints is often a pilgrimage to see the wonderful, rare, endemic Panamint Daisy - the logo of the California Native Plant Society.

panamint daisy
Panamint Daisy, Enceliopsis covillei, a perennial only found in the Panamint Range

panamint daisy

A plant which is definitely not small - just shy and remote.

not a belly flower
My palm is 3.5 inches (90mm) across!

But in the desert you often also have to genuflect for the beautiful "belly flowers," too.

lilac sunbonnet
Lilac Sunbonnet, Langloisia setosissima ssp. punctata

desert calico
Desert Calico, Loeseliastrum matthewsii

While others scream out at your eyes from a distance. I spotted the Scarlet Locoweed while scanning a hillside with binocs for bird activity.

scarlet locoweed
Scarlet Locoweed, Astragalus coccineus, is the only red Astragalus in CA

layne's locoweed
But the two-tone Layne's Locoweed, Astragalus layneae, is quite nice too

desert lupine
Desert Lupine, Lupinus shockleyi, is a bold relative also in the Pea Family

desert fivespot
And hillsides of Desert Fivespot, Eremalche rotundifolia, can also be eye-catching

cold desert phlox
Cold Desert Phlox, Phlox stansburyi, tends to hide in shadows

indigo bush
While Indigo Bush, Psorothamnus arborescens, also called California Dalea, is another Pea Family plant that shouts out with that loud electric blue

Hop Sage, Grayia spinosa, can really show color too

In fact, the local seasonal response was so good that I easily saw over 40 species in bloom.

Here's a collage of 18 more.

mojave aster evening primrose mojave pincushion magnificus? mojave mound cactus death valley beardtongue yellow cups gravel ghost blazing stars mojave locoweed desert woollystar mojave stinkweed purplemat schott's calico yellow peppergrass nevada gilia? salvia dorrii? rocknettle

And no trip to the Panamints would be complete without paying homage to the endemic dragons.

panamint dragon
Panamint Alligator Lizard, Elgaria panamintina

panamint dragon

You can go back to sleep Panamint Smaug. Your treasures are safe.

I only take photos and leave footprints.

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by you know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

Dragonfly out in the sun you know what I mean, don't you know
Butterflies all havin' fun you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done, that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me

Stars when you shine you know how I feel
Scent of the pine you know how I feel
Ohhhh, freedom is mine
And I know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

- Nina Simone, Feeling Good



  1. Thanks for the wonderful photos and chance to commune with the eastern CA flora, even if only virtually.

  2. Never even seen of few of these flowers before..thanks much...glad there is more ink in your pen.

  3. The desert at its best and with one of the best photographers to record it.
    D Rentz

  4. Wow! The desert is blooming with beauty! You captured it very well.

  5. pied piper plant person

  6. Wow. SUPER DUPER YUMMY flowers, jeeze. Very inspiring (typo was "inspring"). Am attending a memorial out of town this weekend, but now maybe I'll look for some place to get a little nature hike in. Would probably be good on a lot of levels. Thank you for sharing your STUNNING shots of amazing spp. (incl. dragon) & all the IDs.


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