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Platystemon californicus

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2008.

ANNUAL: Delicate annual of spring. Plants in the Sonoran Desert are typically about 30 cm tall.

FLOWERS: White to yellowish-cream with six delicate petals and a dozen or more stamens and pistals. The flowers are supported by tall, thin peduncles that are gracefully curved down as the bud matures. Unopened buds are enclosed in three sepals.

LEAVES: Leaves are linear and alternate on stem; many leaves are clustered at base of plant and are also sparsely arranged on stems above. Variably hirsute with long hairs.

RANGE: Fairly common in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico along wash banks and on rocky slopes. Present only in springs following adequate rainfall. This is a variable plant, i.e. from place to place the flower color, degree of hirsuteness, leaf size and other traits change. Also found across much of southwestern North America.

FRUIT: Dry single-seeded segments that finally separate at maturity.


Papaveraceae -- Poppy Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009