WHITEWATER CANYON FEBRUARY 2009 PAGE ONE
Photographs by Michael Charters




The main purpose of this outing was to photograph a rare species of Astragalus whose main population is in the upper Whitewater Canyon area, and which has also been vouchered from the Mission Creek Preserve in the Morongo Valley. Whitewater Canyon is north of Interstate 10 just where you begin to see the wind machines in San Gorgonio Pass, a couple of miles west of where the 62 goes off to Joshua Tree. While the L.A. Basin was socked in and getting another in a seemingly interminable series of February rains, I drove out to the Whitewater Preserve and with the help of two of the staff naturalists had no difficulty in locating several plants which were much closer to the Preserve headquarters, the seeds of which were probably washed down from the main population farther up the canyon. Both the Whitewater Preserve and the nearby Mission Creek Preserve are being operated by the Wildlands Conservancy, as is the Pioneertown Mountains Preserve and Pipes Canyon Wilderness, currently closed because of the 2006 fires, and the Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County. I plan on making several return visits to Whitewater Canyon over the next few months to see how this year's bloom is progressing and to photograph the Astragalus fruits which give this species its name, triple-tibbed milkvetch. Many of the blooming plants that are displayed here were photographed in areas of Whitewater Canyon other than the Preserve, the most accessible part of which is actually quite small. An asterisk next to the common name in this gallery indicates a non-native species, a tilde (~) indicates an uncertain identifiaction, while an upside-down V indicates a species that was new to me when I photographed it on this field trip.


     
Bearded cryptantha ~
Cryptantha barbigera
Boraginaceae
 
 
Saharan mustard *
Brassica tournefortii
Brassicaceae

 
Retrorse desert four o'clock
Mirabilis bigelovii var. retrorsa
Nyctaginaceae

   
Desert bluebells
Phacelia campanularia ssp. campanularia
Hydrophyllaceae

 
Spanish needles
Palafoxia arida var. arida
Asteraceae
 
   
Desert trumpet
Eriogonum inflatum
Polygonaceae

   
Creosote bush
Larrea tridentata
Zygophyllaceae
 
Small-seeded spurge
Chamaesyce polycarpa
Euphorbiaceae
 
Brittlebush
Encelia farinosa
Asteraceae

 
Lotebush
Zizyphus parryi var. parryi
Rhamnaceae

 
 
Parish's viguiera
Bahiopsis parishii (=Viguiera parishii)
Asteraceae
 
 
 
 
Sacred datura
Datura wrightii
Solanaceae
White fiesta flower
Pholistoma membranaceum
Hydrophyllaceae
 
 

 
 
Telegraph weed
Heterotheca grandiflora
Asteraceae
 
 
Small-flowered fiddleneck
Amsinckia menziesii var. menziesii
Boraginaceae
Sugar bush
Rhus ovata
Anacardiaceae
White nightshade
Solanum douglasii
Solanaceae
Sow thistle *
Sonchus oleraceus
Asteraceae

   
Oak mistletoe
Phoradendron villosum
Viscaceae
 
California croton (Male flowers)
Croton californicus
Euphorbiaceae
 
Creek monkeyflower
Mimulus guttatus
Scrophulariaceae