OK, so I might just have a new favorite Claytonia after my most recent trip into the desert in northwestern Nevada. Let me just tell you something — in the Desert Southwest, spring has sprung! Just like my collaborator at Eastern Washington University (Dr. Robin O’Quinn), I think I am falling in love with the tuberous perennial ‘Great Basin Spring Beauty’ (C. umbellata) — photographed here on March 21st, 2014.
As Stevie Wonder might say, isn’t she lovely?!
It gets better… Also photographed on March 21, 2014, below are some pictures of plants from another population of C. umbellata that occurs on a different substrate in another mountain range nearby in Nevada.
There’s something funny going on here, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it…
Question for readers out there: Who thinks the above plants look similar to the below plants from southern California? Just wonderin’ about evolutionary relationships 😉
The flowers are beautiful! The last one (on the bottom) looks similar, I would say, but obviously the leaves are shaped differently–is the stem longer, or is it just that the flower bloomed before the others? The little plants as they just begin to emerge from the rocks are definitely cute!
Hey, Mary! I agree, these flowers are pretty showy. The plants on bottom are members of the Claytonia lanceolata species complex, technically, but I think they have a lot more in common with C. umbellata (pictured above) than they do with C. lanceolata — time (and my genetic studies) will tell!
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