Death Valley Wildflowers

Back in April, during National Parks Week, my husband and I took a week off from our jobs and set out to explore two National Parks neither of us had visited before. Our first stop was Death Valley National Park. We had planned this trip back in January, when I was hoping that it might be a good year for wildflower viewing, and then in February and March the Death Valley “Superbloom” happened. I was really hoping that there might be some remnants of it left by the time we made it out there, and while we missed the majority of it down in the lower parts of the park, we still found plenty of flowers blooming at the higher elevations.

creosote, mesquite sand dunes, death valley creosote, Larrea tridentata

Perhaps not technically a “wildflower” since it is a shrub, the creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) was found flowering throughout the park.

Our most fruitful and varied wildflower viewing was on the road from Beatty, Nevada back to Death Valley National Park by way of Titus Canyon (though there were also plenty of flowers to be seen along the Beatty Cutoff road and Daylight Pass).

Prince's Plume, Stanleya pinnata, Death Valley wildflowers, Prince's Plume in Titus Canyon

Prince’s Plume (Stanleya pinnata) was in full flower and fairly common at the higher elevations along the Beatty Cutoff/Daylight Pass roads, as well as along the Titus Canyon road, as seen in this photo.

 

Gravel Ghost, Atrichoseris platyphylla

The Gravel Ghost plant (Atrichoseris platyphylla) has striking white flowers on leafless stems.

 

Golden evening primrose, Camissonia brevipes

Another plentiful plant along the Titus Canyon road was the Golden Evening Primrose (Camissonia brevipes).

 

Beavertail cactus and purple aster, Opuntia basilaris

I’m not sure of the aster species, but I liked the purple flowers and the contrast with the bright pink blossoms of the Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris).

 

Dante’s View, Mosaic Canyon, and Darwin Falls also provided some nice wildflower discoveries and viewing.

Phacelia

A Phacelia species (perhaps Notch-leaf Phacelia? Phacelia crenulata?) at the Dante’s View parking area. Like some other members of the Borage family, this is one that is covered in coarse hairs that can be very irritating to your skin if you touch and handle them.

 

Rock nettle, Eucnide urens

Rock nettle (Eucnide urens), an aptly named plant, was growing out of the rocks in Mosaic Canyon.

 

Panamint daisy

I believe this may be the Panamint daisy (Enceliopsis covillei), but am not 100% positive on that identification. Regardless, it was found on the trail to Darwin Falls – a surprising oasis in the desert.

This is just a smattering of the variety of wildflowers we saw during our 3 days at Death Valley National Park. Though most people imagine a barren wasteland when they think of the desert in general, and Death Valley in particular, there really is abundant life when you start looking for it.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve been waiting for these pics! Beautiful!

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