After the summer rains, new growth

How to identify native and non-native seedlings popping up in the high desert this summer

A yellow carpet of native chinchweed (Pectis papposa) near MDLT’s Quail Mountain property in Joshua Tree.
Summer storm cells over the Mojave Desert.

Native summer annuals

Chinchweed, Pectis papposa

Chinchweed has narrow aromatic leaves and bright yellow flowers.
Upright flowering stem of fringed amaranth.
Slender spiderling using a dead plant for support.
Slender spiderling flowers.
California caltrop.
California caltrop’s fruit lacks sharp spikes.
Rattlesnake weed, Euphorbia albomarginata.
Six weeks grama.
Six weeks grama flower heads.

Non-native annuals

Russian thistle or tumbleweed, Salsola tragus

Russian thistle. Note the purplish stem (sometimes striped) and needle-like leaves.
Puncture vine or goat’s head, Tribulus terrestris.
Spiky burr of puncture vine.
Cluster of millet seedlings likely “planted” by bird droppings.

Native perennial seedlings to look for now:

Desert senna, Senna armata

A desert senna seedling showing fine white hairs and lobed, needle-like leaves.
A mature desert senna in full bloom.
Coyote melon seedling emerging after summer monsoons.
Catclaw seedling emerges after summer rains.
Blue palo verde seedling emerging after summer rain.

Non-native, invasive perennial seedlings to remove:

Jerusalem thorn, Parkinsonia aculeata

Jerusalem thorn seedling emerging after summer rain.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mojave Desert Land Trust

The Mojave Desert Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization protecting lands with natural, scenic, and cultural value within the Mojave Desert.