Craters and Poppies


Ubehebe Crater, in the northeastern part of Death Valley National Park, is a beautiful and fascinating geological feature, the remains of a volcanic explosion that happened only 300 to 800 years ago (estimates vary).  The crater is about half a mile wide and 600 feet deep, and there’s a trail that circumnavigates the top.



The area is covered in cinders and colorful gravel and only very few plants. Actually it was a great place to get specimen photos, since the plants grew so sparsely, and almost always well apart from each other.



I was poking about, alternately admiring the flowers and gaping at the geology, when (yet another) yellow flower caught my eye.



This is Mojave gold poppy, aka desert poppy, Eschscholzia glyptosperma (Papaveraceae).  I saw maybe half a dozen of them in a small area between the parking lot and the viewing area at the top of the crater. Note the elongated seedpod above the flowers in the photo to the right.

Apparently this poppy is common across the Mojave desert, but I didn’t see them anywhere else during my trip.


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