Mojave pincushion, Xantu's pincushion
The Mojave Desert and nearby regions; north across Nevada to southeast Oregon
Well-drained, sandy places, from deserts to 8,000 foot mountain slopes
Succulent-like; narrow, divided into thin tubular lobes, up to 3 inches long
Chaenactis xantiana produces thin, lightly branched stalks topped by compact clusters of several dozen small, white, five-petaled flowers, supported by a ring of reddish green phyllaries. When fully in bloom the petals of adjacent flowers overlap and those around the edge bend back, to create a hemispherical cluster in which the white anthers protrude a little more than the petals. The thin, divided leaves grow mostly around the base and also at intervals along the stems. Buds have a pinkish tint but the flowers are usually pure white.