Mojave Hole-in-the-Sand Plant

Nicolletia occidentalis

Nicolletia occidentalis

Color: Bright pink

Common name: Mojave hole-in-the-sand plant

Latin name: Nicolletia occidentalis


Height: Stem: 5-12 inches

The stem is sometimes surrounded by a hole in the sand.


Description: This is a desert-adapted perennial herb with a skeletonlike appearance. The plant grows from a deep taproot in the desert sand and the stem is sometimes surrounded by a depression in the sand, a trait that gives it its common name. This plant bears showy flowers with curving bright pink ray florets and yellow centers.

Leaf: The narrow, fleshy leaves each end in a bristle and have large oil glands which exude a strong unpleasant scent.

Range: Mojave Desert, s High Sierra Nevada

Habitat: Sandy desert soils, often dunes, washes

Elevation: 600–1400 m.

Flowering time: Apr–Jun

Notes: Nicolletia occidentalis, a dicot, is a perennial herb that is native to California and is endemic (limited) to California alone. This photo was taken north of Barstow, San Bernardino, California near Fort Irwin on April 6, 2008.

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