Mojave, Mohave, Mohavea

Do you know the web comic xkcd? I was reminded of it the other night. While getting ready for bed I glanced over Steve’s shoulder at his iPad. “Hey, you’re reading my blog!” I beamed. “Yep,” says he. “I think you made a mistake.”

So I immediately went back to the computer and corrected every instance where I’d typed “Mohave” instead of “Mojave”. I hate making mistakes like that. I work hard not to make mistakes like that. Why did I make a mistake like that?

I blame this flower: Mohavea confertiflora. Ever since identifying it and adding it to my spreadsheet, I’ve been mixing up the words and typing them wrong.

Ghost flower is an annual that grows to about ten inches tall, bearing single flowers in the leaf axils, and is easily identified by the red spots inside the petals. It can be found on washes and gravelly slopes in both the Sonoran and Mojave desserts. Its cousin Mohavea breviflora is found in the Mojave and Great Basin deserts.

In other news of genera starting with M, I found several species of Mentzelia. More on them next time.

In case you’re wondering, the lead photo shows ghost flower, rock daisy, gold poppy, and two different species of phacelia.

above, xkcd “Duty Calls”

[I proofread this post a coupla dozen times.]

Small But Showy


lesser mohavea, aka golden desert snapdragon
Mohavea breviflora


And back to Death Valley…

Like so many other flowers I saw in Death Valley, lesser mohavea is found in the Mojave Desert of California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. It’s an annual, growing to about eight inches tall.

Of course the common name makes me wonder, is there a greater mohavea? Apparently not. There’s only one other species in the genus (M. confertiflora), and its common name is ghostflower.



Bigelow monkeyflower
Mimulus bigelovii


While there are only two Mohavea species, there are 70 some Mimulus species, all but four of which are found in the western US. (I wrote last July about Allegheny monkeyflower and winged monkeyflower.) M. bigelovii has about the same range as lesser mohavea, stands at about the same height (though it can flower when much smaller), and is also an annual.