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Can You Find the Desert Five-Spot In Death Valley National Park?

Desert Five-Spot, Jimmie Affholder photo.

The Desert Five-Spot is one of the more unusual flowers that blooms in Death Valley National Park. Photo by Jimmie Affholder.

With all the talk of late about the prospects for a colorful, and plentiful, bloom in Death Valley National Park, let's start talking flowers in earnest. For instance, have you ever seen a Desert Five-Spot in the park?

Those well-versed in the botanical delights of Death Valley know that there are more than 1,000 plant species that grow there, and that there are 23 species that grow only in the park's 3.3 million acres. Now, the Desert Five-Spot is not one of those endemics, but it's still one of the more unusual flowers that rewards those fortunate enough to come upon one with its showy display.

Jimmie Affholder, who lives and works in Death Valley, and is pretty handy with a camera, as well, snared this photo of a Five-Spot. The Traveler offers his photo as a little incentive for folks lucky enough to be in Death Valley during this spring's bloom.


Thanks for reminding me of the flowers! Forget just how beautiful the deset is. Have camped in Panamint City and Panamint Valley just because I could. Last I heard you can't get to Panamint City without two winches (they burn out). Don't need a 4X4 to enjoy Death Valley or Panamint Valley. Lots of water and fuel. Good sense helps. Stay out of the draws/gulches when camping (for fear of flash flooding). If you're staying in the park, this won't be a problem because you will be restricted to camp grounds, but I've seen tents and trailers blowing all over camp grounds because the tents were't flattened during the day or the trailers were not secure from rolling. Ignorance - not stupidity.

Will be going to Death Valley next week for vacation.I know it will only be the beginning of the wild flower explosion, but I will be looking for the Desert Five Spot and many more. I am a Grand Canyon employee but must confess Death Valley is my favorite park to visit.

I've seen many Desert Five Spots in my winters in Death Valley. I would recommend driving thru the town of Shoshone and North thru the south end of the park (I believe it is Hwy 178), past Ashford Mill and Mormon Point. The flowers usually start blooming in the South end of the park and work their way North. Plus I've seen desert bighorn sheep a few times around the Mormon Point area. Don't forget to stop at Badwater on your way to Furnace Creek either!

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