The Other Yellow Flower

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On my second day in Death Valley, as I drove further north to slightly higher elevations, I noticed that the fields of gold had become fields of yellow.  The flowers looked different, too (as much as I could tell at 50 mph).  So of course I had to pull over and take a closer look.

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The vast expanses of desert gold had become less-dense expanses of yellowcups, aka golden evening-primrose, Chylismia brevipes (formerly Camissonia brevipes; Onagraceae). They can stand nearly as tall as desert gold, but are generally shorter and more wispy in appearance. If you look closely you’ll see a tiny red dot at the base of each petal, an identifying characteristic of this species.

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Yellowcups are native to the deserts of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

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