One More Belly Flower


Nama demissa


Sorry that I keep going back and forth between Death Valley and the Potomac Gorge. I still have lots to post about that trip, but things are happening fast at home, so the blog posts are going to bounce around for awhile yet.

So, back to Death Valley… Purplemat is not particularly showy, given that it stands no more than three inches above the ground, but it is pretty up close. There are two varieties, demissa and covillei; without more detailed pictures I can’t be sure, but I believe the plant shown here is the former.



penny for scale




About the botanic name: ITIS accepts the specific epithet demissa, and demissum as an unaccepted orthographic variant.  Nonetheless, you’ll see demissum often on the internet. Also, other sources place this plant in the Hydrophyllaceae.

view from above

Belly Flowers

In a few recent posts I’ve used the phrase “belly flowers”, regional slang for plants that you need to be on the ground to see. That’s a bit of an exaggeration (knees will do in most cases), but it makes the point. There’s no official definition, of course, but offhand I’d say about a dozen or so of my Death Valley finds could be called belly flowers.


desert star and a Cryptantha species, with 77mm lens cap

Since I’m enamored of tiny flowers, I was charmed to find these plants. I’ve written about a few already (the two gilias and Fremont’s phacelia). Over the next few days I’ll write about a few more.


purplemat, broad-leaved gilia, desert star, and Cryptantha species, with dime for scale