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Photos Of Plants In The Anza-Borrego Desert

See More Images Of Wildflowers In San Diego County

Desert blister beetle (Lytta magister) in Coyote Creek

Soldier blister beetles of the genus (Tegrodera).

Scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis tenuifolia) a spectacular wildflower of the phlox family (Polemoniaceae) native to rocky slopes near Jacumba in eastern San Diego County.

Yellow climbing snapdragon (Antirrhinum filipes) in Palm Canyon. This unusual member of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) climbs on other shrubs by means of twining pedicels.

The blossoms of (Krameria grayi) superficially resemble an orchid. The five, showy perianth segments are sepals rather than petals. The petals consist of three upright "flag" petals and two curved lower petals which are modified into glands that flank the ovary. Each spine on the fruit is barbed at the tip like a grappling hook. This attractive shrub belongs to the rhatany family (Krameriaceae) and is partially parasitic on other shrubs. Another species (K. erecta) has cupped sepals and fruit spines with barbs along the shafts.

Two members of the cacao or chocolate family (Sterculiaceae) native to San Diego County. Left: Flannelbush (Fremontodendron californicum ssp. californicum), a colorful shrub native to shady desert canyons of the Laguna Mountains. Right: Ayenia compacta, an interesting little shrub native to rocky canyons. The unusual petal claws (stalks) are threadlike and curved.

Gander's cryptantha (Cryptantha ganderi), one of the many annual species of Cryptantha in San Diego County. Like other species of Cryptantha, the foliage and inflorecence are covered with bristly trichomes. This species typically has only one nutlet (rather than four), and the nutlet is smooth and shiny (rather than tubercled or papillate). The single nutlet is shown by red arrow in right image. The bristly sepals surrounding the nutlet are up to 10 mm long, longer than most other species in San Diego County. The long, conspicuous trichomes have bulbous bases. Another very bristly species with sepals up to 10 mm long (C. barbigera) grows in the vicinity, but it often has four roughed nutlets. C. ganderi has an R-E-D code of 3-3-2 on the CNPS Rare & Endangered List 1B. It occurs in sandy riverbeds and is apparently rarely seen.

CNPS Listing For Cryptantha ganderi
CNPS Inventory of Rare & Endangered Plants

Phacelia campanularia ssp. campanularia, a seldom-seen species in San Diego County, The flower is rotate and blue, unlike the purple flowers of P. parryi and the campanulate (bell-shaped) flowers of wild canterbury bell (P. minor). P. campanularia ssp. vasiformis has more distinctly bell-shaped flowers and is appropriately called "desert blue-bells."

Phacelia campanularia ssp. vasiformis
See The Purple Phacelia parryi & P. minor
See The White Post-Burn Phacelia brachyloba

Borrego Valley locoweed (Astragalus lentiginosus var. borreganus), a silvery-silky locoweed endemic to sandy washes of Borrego Valley.

Astragalus palmeri, another perennial locoweed native to the Anza-Borrego Desert region. Unlike the erect habit of Astragalus lentiginosus var. borreganus, this species typically has a low, spreading growth form.


  1. Beauchamp, R.M. 1986. A Flora Of San Diego County, California. Sweetwater River Press, National City, California.

  2. Evans, A.V. and J.N. Hogue. 2004. Introduction to California Beetles. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

  3. Hickman, J.C. (Editor). 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

  4. Higgins, E.B. 1949. "Annotated Distributional List of Ferns and Flowering Plants of San Diego County, California." Occasional Papers of the San Diego Society of Natural History 8: 1-174.

  5. Hirshberg, J. and D. Clemons. 1996. "Vascular Plants of the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, California." Phytologia 81: 69-102).

  6. Hogue, C.L. 1993. Insects of the Los Angeles Basin. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

  7. Simpson, M.G. and J. P. Rebman. 1996. Checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Diego County (3rd Edition). SDSU Herbarium Press, San Diego, California.

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