Hop Sage, Hopsage, Spiny Hopsage
Color: Pink to Red
Common name: Hop Sage, Hopsage, Spiny Hopsage
Latin name: Grayia spinosa
Height: 2-4 feet
Description: The male and female flowers grow on separate plants and are very inconspicuous. What is noticeable on this plant are the showy, colourful bracts, which are leaflike or scalelike parts, located on the inflorescence.
Leaf: 5–35 mm, grey-green with a rounded apex and tapering base.
Range: High Sierra Nevada (e slope), Tehachapi Mountain Area, s Inner South Coast Ranges, Western Transverse Ranges (n slope), Great Basin Floristic Province, Mojave Desert, nw Sonoran Desert. Distribution outside California: to Washington, Montana, New Mexico.
Habitat: Sandy to gravelly, Creosote Bush Scrub, Pinyon-Juniper Woodland.
Elevation: 500–2800 m
Flowering time: May–June
Notes: A common shrub that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. Hop sage is closely related to desert holly. Cattlemen considered this a valuable forage plant. It can be found along Kelbaker Road near Interstate 40 in the Mojave National Preserve as well as along Highway 395 where this plant was photographed on Haiwee Power Plant Road.
Horticulture: Insufficiently tested, but worth pursuing, especially within its natural range. Especially good for stabilizing or restoring disturbed or degraded areas. May be less suitable for general garden use.
We have an online wildflower field guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.
Photo 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.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
What's Blooming Now - Check the Wildflower Reports
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