Desert: The L.A. Mag Guide to Plants

Five flora that grow in the desert
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creosote-bushCreosote Bush 

The plant can live thousands of years and is among the continent’s most drought tolerant. Yellow blooms adorn the fragrant leaves.

 

 

mesquiteMesquite
It’s a tree, it’s a shrub, it’s a boon to the barbecue. Pods dangling among the little fernlike leaves are legumes that can be ground into flour.

 

 

ocotilloOcotillo 
Its thin stems can reach 30 feet and sprout small oval leaves after rainfall. You’ll find it in Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego.

 

 

big-galletaBig Galleta 
This bunchgrass is common to the deserts of the Southwest, with felty blades that grow two to three feet high.

 

 

chollaCholla 
There are many kinds, but they all feature cylindrical joints coated with sharp spines that can be hard to extract from your person.

 
 

 

flowerTo find out where the wildflowers are, call the Theodore Payne Foundation hotline: (818) 768-3533

 

 

Illustrations by Roger Hall