a-plant-a-day-2

Fiddleneck: Amsinckia tessellata, Boraginaceae (borage family)

The desert floor often reminds me of what I imagine would have grown on the bottom of the ocean when the dinosaurs were still around. The smaller, angular parts of coral-esque structures merge to form rounded, fluid contours that give the basic shape of a given shrub or bush. There's a branching curiosity to a lot of these plants, but held in a protective stance; it's not hard to picture the oscillation between unfurling and recoiling under the weight of moving water. 

Fiddleneck is a hairy, flowering stalk that's running pretty much neck and neck with invasive mustards. Which makes sense, since fiddleneck self-pollinates and can quickly establish a field by exponential seed dispersal and germination. These fuzzy little plants bear small yellow flowers along the curling spine. In the hour before sunset, their figures are silhouetted, but the bristly hairs capture the light and illuminate each plant, creating a glowing field—that for some reason, makes me think of seahorses prancing about the ground.