Bisnaga Wash 1 (2012)
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Bisnaga Alta Wash   Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
  © W.P. Armstrong 9 February 2012
Most Images Taken With Sony DSC-T9 and Sony DSC-HX9v

 Horsfordia alata On This Page!       Alphabetical Family List For Latest Jepson Manual 

The famous 9-headed barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) along Hwy S-2 near Bisnaga Wash, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. "Bisnaga" is the Spanish word for barrel cactus.

Some areas of Bisnaga Wash are literally covered with dense populations of jumping cholla (Cylindrocactus bigelovii). The stem segments litter the ground and are a hazard to careless hikers (see following image).

Left: Stem segment of jumping cholla (Cylindrocactus bigelovii), one of the most painful hitchhiking plants in the southwestern United States. The spines are exceedingly difficult to pull out of rubber soles and human skin. What makes this cholla so unique is that the stem segments or joints break off with the slightest touch and become firmly attached to various body extremities. If you barely touch or brush against the spines and then suddenly jerk away, the fuzzy stem fragment will be instantaneously upon you. Trying to pull out the barbed spines is not only frustrating and excruciating, but usually results in the joint or fragment becoming attached to another part of your anatomy.

Right: Image of a spine taken with a scanning electron microscope (SEM). It reveals why the spines of jumping cholla are so tenacious and difficult to pull out. The spine is covered with sharp, overlapping scales or barbs that lie flat and allow the spine to penetrate skin readily like a very sharp needle. When you try to remove a spine, you are pulling against hundreds of tiny scales. In the process, other spines penetrate the skin from all directions, making the extraction very painful and seemingly hopeless. This spine was removed from a student's foot on a field trip to Anza-Borrego many years ago. The student had access to a SEM. Needle-nose pliers are a handy tool to carry when walking through jumping cholla country.

  Wayne's Word Ultimate & Painful Hitchhikers  

Minute Wildflowers In The Sand
Some Images have a perfectly exposed penny superimposed over the original penny.

Wallace's woolly daisy (Eriophyllum wallacei).

Purple mat (Nama demissum var. demissum).

Bigelow's monkey flower (Mimulus bigelovii var. bigelovii).

White-stemmed blazing star (Mentzelia albicaulis).

Small-seeded spurge (Chamaesyce polycarpa).

Carrizo Mountain spurge (Chamaesyce pediculifera).

Cryptobiotic Crust Lichens

Brown earthscale lichen (Placidium lacinulatum)

Blushing scale lichen (Psora decipiens))

  Cryptobiotic Crust In Anza-Borrego Desert  

Unknown Crater In Sand: Possibly Inhabited By Spider?

I base my spider hypothesis on the silk trapline threads that radiate out from the crater. Stay tuned.

Devil's Claws = Desert Unicorn Plant (Proboscidea althaeifolia)

Dried devil's claw seed capsules from a large, sprawling plant.

Devil's Claw Plants In Flower (From Previous Summers Along Hwy S-2).
This May Be W.P. Armstrong's Favorite Desert Wildflower! (Sony T-10, Nikon FM-2 & D-40x)

  Devil's Claws: Hitchhikers On Big Animals  

Papillate Dodder (Cuscuta californica var. papillosa)

Dried papillate dodder plants (rough dodder) on indigo bush (Psorothamnus schottii).

Magnified view of desiccated flower of Cuscuta californica var. papillosa). Minute papules (bumps) can be seen on the pedicel and perianth. Corolla scales are not present, thus ruling out the desert species C. denticulata.

Magnified view of desiccated flower of Cuscuta californica var. papillosa). Although papules are present, the flower does not appear to be densely papillate as described in Jepson (2012). Perhaps the degree of papillosity is not visible in this desiccated specimen.

Plantaginaceae: Twining Snapdragon (Antirrhinum filipes)

  New Jepson Flora & Changes In California Plant Names  

Minute Wildflowers Among Shady Boulders)

Boraginaceae: Desert eucrypta (Eucrypta micrantha).

Brassicaceae: Wedge-leaved draba (Draba cuneifolia).

Pink & Yellow Velvet Mallows (Horsfordia alata & H. newberryi)

Pink velvet mallow (Horsfordia alata), the most remarkable find of the day!

Left: Horsfordia alata. Right: Horsfordia newberryi.

Cactaceae: California Fish-Hook Cactus (Mammilaria dioica)

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