ELEPHANT TREES, ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
FEBRUARY 2010 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




I went down to the Fonts Point Wash area of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to join a group from the Orange County CNPS and some other interested botany people in search of Thurber's stemsucker, a tiny parasitic plant belonging to a genus (Pilostyles) with a very weird geographic distribution (there is one other species in Iran and a second in Australia), and about which little is known for sure. It grows on the felty stems of the Emory indigo bush or dyeweed (Psorothamnus emoryi). We were disappointed not to be able to locate individual plants in bloom although most of the plants observed were infested with the Pilostyles (pi-LOS-til-ees). However, as is often the case with this plant, once I got home and enlarged some of my pictures, I discovered flowers that had probably been in recent bloom. I may have to wait until this Dec/Jan. to get fresher flowers. After leaving the Fonts Point Wash and Inspiration Point Wash areas, I drove down to Ocotillo Wells, which is a part of Anza-Borrego I'd never been to, to check out the Elephant Trees area, a rocky and sandy alluvial plain coming off of the Vallecito Mts. There had been good rains in this part of the desert in September, and Tom Chester recorded well over 1,000 plants of 39 species in bloom in December, but there is not much blooming there right now, so we must be in a lull between blooming periods, and things will probably pick up again when we get some extended warm weather to really get things going.


   
California croton (Male flowers)
Croton californicus
Euphorbiaceae
 
Galls on Emory indigo bush
Psorothamnus emoryi
Fabaceae
 
Spanish needles
Palafoxia arida var. arida
Asteraceae


 
Desert sand verbena
Abronia villosa var. villosa
Nyctaginaceae
 
Little gold poppy
Eschscholzia minutiflora
Papaveraceae


 
 
Thurber's stemsucker
Pilostyles thurberi
(On Psorothamnus emoryi)
Apodanthaceae 
(Rafflesiaceae in TJM1)
 
 
   



 
Pale sun-cup
Camissonia pallida ssp. pallida
Onagraceae
 
Popcorn flower
Cryptantha sp.
Boraginaceae


 
 
Windmills, Trailing 4 o'clock
Allionia incarnata var. incarnata
Nyctaginaceae
 
 
 
 
Desert thornapple
Datura discolor
Solanaceae
Common phacelia
Phacelia distans
Boraginaceae
 
 

 
 
Brittlebush
Encelia farinosa
Asteraceae
 
 
 



   
Ocotillo
Fouqieria splendens ssp. splendens
Fouqieriaceae


 
Catclaw acacia
Senegalia greggii
Fabaceae


   
Desert lavender
Hyptis emoryi
Lamiaceae