Thursday, 4 March 2010

Desert Five-Spot

 


This strange looking plant is known as Desert Five-Spot.  The explanation of the name is fairly obvious in that you can see there are five "spots" and you can assume (from the name) that it probably grows in the desert!  

The scholarly name for this plant is Eremalche rotundifolium (it was formerly in the Family of Malvastrum instead of Eremalche).

The range for this plant is very limited as it grows in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of southeastern California, southern Nevada and western Arizona -- below 4,000 feet -- in dry, open washes and flats.  

These flowers open in the afternoon and close at night and are generally considered to be one of the most beautiful flowers growing in the desert.  Desert Five-Spot was originally considered to be a member of the Mallow Family hence the family name of Malvaceae.

When light passes through the petals of the flower, the resulting "globe" sometimes resembles a glowing lantern which has led to the plant being called the Lantern Flower and Chinese Lantern.



  

Tonight's photograph captures one of those rare moments in Nature when something spectacular occurs and you have your camera with you!

I like the photo not just because it shows a stunningly beautiful scene, but also because it looks like this scene occurred in spring -- I think I can see small buds on the tree!  

Spring is very much on my mind these days.  First because we have been having unusually mild weather and lots of sunshine, but also because we are approaching time-change weekend followed by the first day of spring on the 20th.  How quickly the year seems to be passing!

Meanwhile, it appears that there may be a new kitty coming into my home very soon. I need to wait until Saturday to find out for certain, but once things are confirmed, I will tell you the whole story.  I am very hopeful, however.

May peace be with you all. 

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