LOST PALMS OASIS TRAIL, JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
FEBRUARY 2012
PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




On every previous trip to Joshua Tree National Park, I have simply walked off into the desert and explored. This was the first time I had ever hiked on an actual trail. The Lost Palms Oasis trail begins at Cottonwood Springs and travels up and down over fairly gentle albeit rocky terrain, across sandy washes, and through desert scrub some 4 miles to the oasis, which contains the largest collection of California fan palms in the park. The first part of the trail passes through what is the most floristic area at the present time, and the remainder of the trail is quite dry. This area is home to a massive number of pencil chollas and many large Nolinas. The oasis itself contains over 100 fan palms. Altogether I managed to photograph about three dozen species in bloom although most were not present in any great numbers. Unfortunately by the time I made it to the edge of Lost Palms Canyon, I had run out of time so was not able to go down into the oasis itself. It would be interesting to see what it would be like in a good year, but alas this is not going to be one of those. The symbol (~) next to the common name indicates a degree of uncertainty with regard to the identification. If anyone wants to weigh in on any of the Cryptantha/Pectocarya id's, please feel free to do so.


   
Desert bluebells
Phacelia campanularia ssp. vasiformis
Boraginaceae


 
 
 

Star gilia
Gilia stellata
Polemoniaceae

 
 
 



 
Bladderpod
Peritoma arborea
Cleomaceae


   
Apricot mallow
Sphaeralcea ambigua
Malvaceae
 
Desert stars
Monoptilon bellioides
Asteraceae
 
Yellow comet (~)
Mentzelia affinis
Loasaceae


 
Curvenut pectocarya
Pectocarya recurvata
Boraginaceae
 
 



 
Paperbag bush, Bladder sage
Scutellaria mexicana
Lamiaceae
 
 
Pencil cholla
Cylindropuntia ramosissima
Cactaceae

 
 
Tansy mustard
Descurainia pinnata ssp. glabra
Brassicaceae
 


   
  Chia
Salvia columbariae
Lamiaceae
 



 
 
Mojave yucca
Yucca schidigera
Agavaceae
 
 
 
 
Rock daisy
Perityle emoryi
Asteraceae
Bigelow's monkeyflower
Mimulus bigelovii
Phrymaceae
 
 


   
Desert alyssum
Lepidium fremontii
Brassicaceae