Turtleback, Velvet turtleback
Common name: Turtleback, or Velvet turtleback
Latin name: Psathyrotes ramosissima
Height: 2-6 inches
Description: Turtleback is a low, neatly mounded plant producing spreading stems which are hairless to densely woolly in texture. The knobby inflorescence is lined with woolly gray-green phyllaries with dull points that curve outward. It contains several hairy yellow disc florets.
Leaf: Leaves are borne on long stalks. The leaf blade is variable in shape, generally roughly rounded, and up to 2 cm long. It has a wavy, bluntly toothed edge and a bumpy, velvety surface coated in woolly fibers and shiny hairs. It is brownish to gray-green to very pale green in color.
Range: s East of Sierra Nevada, Desert
Habitat: Sandy creosote-bush scrub
Elevation: generally < 1000 m.
Flowering time: Mar–Jun
Notes: Psathyrotes ramosissima, a dicot, is an annual or perennial herb that is native to California and is also found outside of California, but is confined to western North America. This photo was taken on April 8, 2004 in Mule Canyon north of Barstow, San Bernardino County, California.
Photo below of a Velvet Turtleback in bloom. Photo taken in January, 2023 in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park by Paulette Donnellon.
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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