Desert candle

Caulanthus inflatus

Caulanthus inflatus

Color: Maroon to purple

Common name: Desert candle

Latin name: Caulanthus inflatus


Height: 8-20 inches

Description: Usually inflated smooth stem gives the plant its unique appearance. Flowers are darker in bud, petals 8-14mm purplish especially on veins, generally wavy edges are thin, dry, pliable translucent or variously colored, but not green.

Leaf: Basal 2–7 cm, ± smooth to finely toothed especially toward tips, tapered to short. The upper leaves of the desert candle are clasping.

Range: s Sierra Nevada Foothills (Kern Co.), w edge c&s San Joaquin Valley, Inner South Coast Ranges, n Western Transverse Ranges (± uncommon in preceding), sw Mojave Desert (common).

Habitat: Open, sandy plains to rocky slopes.

Elevation: 150–1500 m.

Flowering time: Mar–May

Notes: Photographed Mar-Apr 2005, Mojave Desert, near Harper Dry Lake, north of Barstow, San Bernardino, Calif. A dicot, is an annual herb that is native to California and is endemic (limited) to California alone.

Photos tips Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.

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