Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Onagraceae >>> Camissonia californica

California Suncup

Camissonia californica

Photo © Laurie Nessel

Flowers have four yellow petals marked with red. Notice also eight stamens and the capitate stigma. The flowers grow on tall, spindly stalks so as to be apparent to passing pollinators. This close-up photo was taken and submitted by L. Nessel.

Photo by Michael Plagens also hosted at Wikimedia Project

The leaves grow in a basal clump, close to the ground and out of the drying winds. Photographed in the Hedgepeth Hills, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 3 Feb. 2008.

LEAVES: Leaves are mostly in a basal rosette and are distinctly shaped and often colored. Leaves are variously splotched with dark red and the margin teeth are sharply wedge-shaped.

FLOWERS: Small yellow flowers with red radiating lines on a tall stem. Buds reddish before opening. Feb. to April/May. The four yellow petals give a superficial resemblance to a mustard - but note 8 stamens (as opposed to 6 in mustards) and a fruit capsule located below the sepals/petals (above in mustards).

ANNUAL : A spring annual found mostly on rocky slopes and near washbanks. Found commonly across the Sonoran Desert.

RANGE: Fairly common on desert flats and near washes of western Sonoran Desert appearing only in response to good winter-spring rains.

FRUIT: Cylindrical capsules positioned below the sepals and petals, i.e. inferior ovary.


Onagraceae -- Evening Primrose Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008