BISNAGA ALTA WASH, ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
FEBRUARY 2012 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




This week I joined a group including Wayne Armstrong, Kate Harper, Mike Crouse, Vince Balch, Steve Fuller, James Dillane and Tom Chester, to botanize part of the Bisnaga Alta Wash area on the western side of Anza Borrego Desert State Park. This area is near the Vallecito Mountains and accessed from the S-2 approximately 20 miles south of Scissors Crossing. Our main goal on this field trip was to find Lotus haydonii, a species we have never found for sure before but which has been vouchered from here. The terrain of the Bisnaga Alta Wash is actually a series of fairly deep washes with the areas between them absolutely covered with jumping cholla that makes it necessary to step carefully. Even so we were constantly brushing cholla segments from our boots and pants, and sometimes skin. To the east and west are other rocky washes similarly incised with multiple channels. It is not clear exactly where the voucher, recorded by Duffie Clemons in 1982, was from, and in any case we did not find any, but we did find Horsfordia alata which has been vouchered only once in San Diego County, by Jon Rebman in 2006. In this location as with the others I have visited so far this year the flora such as it is is the result of rains last fall, and this mini season is drawing to a close. Without more rain very quickly the deserts will not have much of a bloom this year. Incidentally, Bisnaga was a genus name for barrel cacti published by Orcutt in 1926 which has been replaced by Ferocactus, and is sometimes given as a common name for the barrel cactus. An upside-down V next to the common name indicates a species that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip, and an asterisk denotes a non-native taxon.


   
Spectacle pod
Dithyrea californica
Brassicaceae
 
Redroot or Smallflower cryptantha
Cryptantha micrantha
Boraginaceae
 
Pale primrose
Camissoniopsis pallida ssp. pallida
Onagraceae


 
Desert pincushion
Chaenactis stevioides
Asteraceae

 
 
 
Desert dandelion
Malacothrix glabrata
Asteraceae
 
 



   
Four-wing saltbush
Atriplex canescens var. canescens
Chenopodiaceae



 
 
Fishhook cactus, Strawberry cactus
Mammillaria dioica
Cactaceae
 
 
   



 
 
Desert unicorn plant, Devil's claw ^
(dried fruit)
Proboscidea althaeifolia
Martyniaceae
Narrow-leaved cryptantha
Cryptantha angustifolia
Boraginaceae
 


 
 
cf. Whitestem blazing star
Mentzelia albicaulis
Loasaceae

 
9-headed barrel cactus
Ferocactus cylindraceus
Cactaceae

(Multiple heads caused by injury to
the meristem)
 


   
  Peirson's brown-eyed primrose
Chylismia claviformis ssp. peirsonii
Onagraceae
 



 
 
Dwarf filago, Hierba limpia
Logfia depressa
Asteraceae
 
 
 
 
Common Mediterranean grass *
Schismus barbatus
Poaceae
Little gold poppy
Eschscholzia minutiflora
Papaveraceae
 
 


   
Curvenut pectocarya
Pectocarya recurvata
Boraginaceae


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