Flora of Iron Age Mine Area, east of 29 Palms

Fig. 1. Panorama of a field of Pectis papposa, chinch-weed, from three camera frames, taken just south of SR62 on 7 October 2011.

Fig. 2. Panorama of three camera frames of a different field of Pectis papposa, chinch-weed, taken roughly 0.5 miles south of SR62 on 7 October 2011.

Fieldwork Results
Procedure For Compiling The Checklist
Important Caveats


Jane Strong alerted us to a Calphoto message posted by John Cubit about the wonderful fall bloom in this area, including John's beautiful pix of the bloom from 29 September 2011.

All the authors visited this area, about 23 miles east of the city of 29 Palms and about 1.5 miles east of the signed Ironage Road, on 7 October 2011, and found it to be absolutely delightful. We recorded all the species we saw, including whether they were blooming or not, and found 40 species in bloom out of a total of 70 species observed. RT and Shaun Hawke returned to this area on 8 October 2011, finding one additional species in bloom, making it 41 species in bloom out of a total of 71 species observed.

Best of all, we found zillions of plants of Kallstroemia californica in bloom and in fruit. This is the first time that most of us have seen this species, and it was our target species for coming here. We didn't have to hunt hard for it; when we got out of the car, it was on both sides. There are many plants of it in Fig. 1 above, but it doesn't show up well in a field of Pectis.

A bonus was finding all three annual species of Boerhavia in bloom and in fruit.

It surprised us that we found all the species in the initial part of our survey, adding no additional species as we walked up the canyon. RT and Shaun Hawke surveyed up to and beyond the Iron Age mine, which included south-facing slopes in a different drainage basin, and still found no additional species, which is extremely unusual.

Perhaps we just quickly ran out of the summer annuals that grow in this area, and maybe the canyon is just too open to offer anything different. It also might be a different story for additional species in a survey made in a spring after a wet winter.


The area we surveyed is shown in the following maps:

The three different versions of the DSon / DMoj boundary are given on the above maps since this area seems to have a typical DSon flora. During the survey, we kept commenting that all the species seemed to be familiar Sonoran Desert taxa, and we weren't picking up any uniquely Mojave Desert taxa. Then, when we checked the GPS unit to find our elevation, we were shocked when it read just 1600 feet elevation. We had assumed, because we were on the north side of Joshua Tree National Park, that our elevation should be the typical 4000 feet of the Mojave Desert.

Of course, it is unreasonable to think that there is a sharp boundary between DMoj and DSon. Instead, there is most likely a broad transition area between the deserts, and this happens to be one of the places in that transition zone that more closely resembles DSon.

Fieldwork Results

Procedure For Compiling The Checklist

Important Caveats

Checklist for Iron Age Mine Area

This is a preliminary, working list of the flora of this area, compiled from surveys done on 7 and 8 October 2011. Some of the taxa were identified from immature plants, and some of them might not grow up to be the species we thought they were. We've indicated those taxa by a ~ in front of their names.

The Checklist is sorted first by category - ferns, dicots, and monocots - and then by family and scientific name. The JM Family and Scientific Name are from the 1993 first edition Jepson Manual. An asterisk before the Common Name indicates a non-native taxon.

Two columns are given under # Plants. The column Bloom gives the number of plants observed to be in bloom in our surveys. The column Obs'd gives the minimum number of plants we observed, blooming and not, in our surveys, up to a maximum number given of 99.

This is a working list, about which we make no guarantees at all. Use at your own risk!

Version for printing, without lines and other text on this page: html (3 pages) or pdf Clickbook booklet (1 double-sided pages). (See printing instructions for an explanation of these options)

#JM FamilyScientific Name(*)Common Name# Plants
1EPHEphedra californicadesert tea 20
2AMAAmaranthus fimbriatusfringed amaranth2020
3TIDTidestromia oblongifoliaArizona honeysweet1010
4ASCAsclepias subulatarush milkweed320
5SARSarcostemma hirtellumrambling milkweed1015
6AMBAmbrosia dumosaburroweed540
7BEBBebbia juncea var. asperasweetbush3050
8CHA~Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia~pebble pincushion 10
9CHRChrysothamnus paniculatusblackbanded rabbitbrush210
10DICDicoria canescensdesert dicoria11
11ENCEncelia farinosabrittlebush 5
12ENCEncelia frutescensbutton encelia3050
13GERGeraea canescenshairy desert-sunflower 1
14HYMHymenoclea salsolacheesebush 50
15PALPalafoxia arida var. aridadesert needle2099
16PECPectis papposa var. papposachinch-weed9999
17PERPerityle emoryiEmory's rock-daisy 40
18STEStephanomeria pauciflora var. pauciflorawire-lettuce210
19CHIChilopsis linearis ssp. arcuatadesert-willow35
20TIQTiquilia plicataplicate coldenia110
21BRABrassica tournefortii*Asian mustard 99
22DITDithyrea californicaspectacle-pod 5
23LEPLepidium lasiocarpum var. lasiocarpumhairy-podded pepper-grass 5
24MAMMammillaria tetrancistrafish-hook cactus 1
25OPUOpuntia echinocarpasilver cholla 6
26OPUOpuntia ramosissimapencil cholla 8
27ACHAchyronychia cooperifrost mat 15
28BRABrandegea bigeloviidesert star-vine 3
29CHAChamaesyce micromeraSonoran spurge9999
30CHAChamaesyce polycarpasmall-seeded spurge9999
31CHAChamaesyce setilobastarfish (Yuma) spurge2020
32CROCroton californicusCalifornia croton 20
33DITDitaxis neomexicanaNew Mexico ditaxis210
34EUP~Euphorbia eriantha~beetle spurge 4
35ACAAcacia greggiicatclaw250
36DALDalea mollissilky dalea1050
37DALDalea mollissimadowny dalea130
38LOTLotus strigosusstrigose lotus 2
39PSOPsorothamnus emoryiEmory's indigo-bush530
40PSOPsorothamnus spinosussmoke tree199
41SENSenna armataspiny senna1014
42PHA~Phacelia distans~common phacelia 10
43KRAKrameria grayiwhite rhatany420
44HYPHyptis emoryidesert-lavender35
45SPHSphaeralcea ambigua var. ambiguaapricot mallow 5
46MOLMollugo cerviana*carpet-weed33
47ABRAbronia villosa var. villosahairy sand-verbena 5
48ALLAllionia incarnatatrailing four o'clock599
49BOEBoerhavia coulteriCoulter's spiderling22
50BOEBoerhavia intermediafivewing spiderling1010
51BOEBoerhavia wrightiiWright's spiderling2020
52MIRMirabilis bigeloviiBigelow's desert four-o'clock 2
53CAMCamissonia boothiiBooth's evening primrose 5
54CAMCamissonia claviformisbrown-eyed primrose 2
55OENOenothera deltoides ssp. deltoidesdune primrose 99
56CHO~Chorizanthe brevicornu var. brevicornu~brittle spineflower 2
57CHOChorizanthe rigidadevil's spineflower 10
58ERIEriogonum inflatumdesert trumpet1020
59ERIEriogonum trichopeslittle desert trumpet 40
60LYCLycium andersoniiAnderson's desert-thorn 1
61PHYPhysalis crassifoliathick-leaved ground cherry320
62PHOPhoradendron californicumdesert mistletoe 15
63KALKallstroemia californicaCalifornia caltrop9999
64LARLarrea tridentatacreosote bush599
65ARIAristida adscensionissix-weeks three-awn2099
66BOUBouteloua aristidoides var. aristidoidesneedle grama9999
67BOUBouteloua barbata var. barbatasix-weeks grama1030
68ERIErioneuron pulchellumfluff grass44
69MUHMuhlenbergia microspermalittleseed muhly1010
70PLEPleuraphis rigidabig galleta3030
71SCHSchismus barbatus*Mediterranean schismus 5

Go to:

Copyright © 2011 by Tom Chester, Mike Crouse, James Dillane, RT and Shaun Hawke
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 12 October 2011