Thurber's Pilostyles, Smallest Plant of the Desert
ANZA-BORREGO SOUTH - PLANTS
The west-side mountains of southern Anza-Borrego, specifically along the
Elsinore earthquake fault, are home to the Washington
Fan Palm, the largest tree in the desert. The dirt road from County
Road S-2 to Mountain Palm Springs is lined with
Teddy Bear Cholla, the tallest cactus in Anza-Borrego. In fact, many
specimens can be called trees. Tall specimens of the Elephant
Tree also are found here.
On the other hand, if you like small, it's often possible to find clumps
of the Thurber's Pilostyles parasite attached to White
Dalea. Thurber's Pilostyles is the smallest plant in the desert.
In late spring, Indian Valley is renowned for its stands of Spiny
Senna with golden yellow flowers. You go through Indian Gorge to get
to Indian Valley. A few weeks later, you can return to see the gorge's deep
Tree flowers. Beside the dirt road from County Road S-2, you will see
lots of Gander's
Cholla which produces yellow-green flowers in spring.
One pretty flower which likes to blossom in the north-facing Sweeney Pass
of County Road S-2 is the Heart-Leaved
Primrose with yellow flowers that turn red with a little age.
Further south, if you are lucky, you may find the red flowers of the Wolf's
Cholla beside County Road S-2. Look for it between the Anza-Borrego
Desert State Park entrance and Ocotillo and toward the western mountains
around Dos Cabezas (on the Mortero Wash Road) and Mountain Spring (off Interstate
South of the town of Ocotillo, County Road S-2 ends at Highway 98. A left
turn here takes you to the enclosed area which is home to another unusual
plant of the area, the Crucifixion