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Sonoran Desert Mustards

Mostly annuals of winter and spring. Some perennials and blooming at other times of year. Distinctive flower morphology: 4 sepals, 4 petals, 4 + 2 Stamens (two sizes). Many, many species in the Sonoran Desert.


Lepidium lasiocarpum

California Mustard

Guillenia lasiophylla

Photo by Mike Plagens

Abundant spring annual found on rocky slopes and along desert washes. Flowers minute and white. Detailed Description

Photo by Mike Plagens

Tall spring annual with elongate pods that deflex at maturity. Flowers small and white. Common on rocky slopes and along washes in the Sonoran Desert.     Detailed Description

Desert Peppergrass

Lepidium fremontii

Photo by Mike Plagens

Robust annual with many, intricately branching stems. Small white flowers and many disc-shaped seed pods. Mojave Desert. Detailed Description

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Moapa Bladderpod

Lesquerella tenella

Purple Bladderpod

Lesquerella purpurea

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Sometimes abundant, bright yellow mustard of rocky slopes and flats. Pods a spherical. Leaves with sandy texture.     Detailed Description

Photo by Mike Plagens

Slender perennial of spring found in partial shade of the eastern parts of the Sonoran Desert. Detailed Description


Draba cuneifolia

London Rocket

Sisymbrium irio

Photo by Mike Plagens

Delicate spring annual found mostly along washes or other sandy spots. Flowers white petaled. Capsules flattened. Leaves mostly basal. This photo is also part of the Wikimedia Project.     Detailed Description

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Abundant, non-native, winter and spring weed found in urban and agricultural settings especially but also in disturbed desert habitats. Flowers yellow, small. Detailed Description

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Thysanocarpus curvipes

Tansy Mustare

Descurainia pinnata

Photo © by Laurie Nessel

Delicate spring annual with distinctive disc-shaped seed pods having a lacey border. Common on rocky slopes and wash banks after winters with good rainfall.     Detailed Description

Photo by Mike Plagens

Spring annual with finely divided leaves and with small, oblong pods. Flowers cream to yellow.      Detailed Description

Asian Mustard

Brassica tournefortii

Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Photo by Mike Plagens

Robust and very common spring weed of roadsides, washes and even raw desert. Flowers yellow. Large course leaves. Detailed Description

Photo by Mike Plagens

Generally a weed in lawns, vacant lots and agricultural fields in the Sonoran Desert. Triangular, purse-shaped seed pods.     Detailed Description

Page 2

Sonoran Desert Places


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2012