Saturday, March 26, 2005

Joshua Tree NP 3/25/05

The 2005 desert flower season trek took us to Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP), where at this writing wildflowers are in bloom in the southern (lower elevation) section of the park. The flower display is most dramatic along the stretch of road between the Cottonwood Visitor Center and Interstate 10, the site where most of the following pictures were taken. I've tried to name some of the flowers I've photographed, but I'm not a botanist and my identifications come without guarantee or warranty.

The most ubiquitous flower along the road is probably the desert-dandelion, pictured below,

followed closely by brittlebrush, ostensibly the favorite flower of the butterflies:

Driving can be quite a challenge during the daylight hours, as butterfiles abound (and continually collide with your vehicle).

The picture below appears to be a dwarf relative of the California poppy, more yellowish in appearance and not nearly as fetching a flower

The next two photos are of the beavertail cactus, which is very common in the park but not yet in bloom... except for this one example seen near Cottonwood

I've heard of Jimson weed, but have never seen it -- until this trip. I didn't find it particularly attractive

This time, we found the ocotillo in bloom, indicated by the reddish flowers emanating from their spiny branches

Here is a closeup view of the ocotillo bloom

JTNP is famous for its rock formations. The next picture shows off one of the formations, rising above a small reservoir called Barker Dam

Finally, consider this tree which found itself growing alongside a huge boulder. The word this image evokes is pertinacity.


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