Desert five-spot, Chinese lantern
The Mojave Desert, and adjoining areas (AZ, CA, NV, UT)
Scrubland, desert flats, washes; open, stony areas, to 4,000 feet
Round or heart-shaped, up to 2.5 inches across, with irregularly toothed edges
Eremalche rotundifolia is one of the prettiest of desert wildflowers; the two inch-wide blooms are formed of five overlapping petals, dark pink around the edges and paler pink lower down, with a large, red/purple, irregularly-edged spot near the base. When fully open the petals are still slightly in-curved, giving the flower a neat, nearly spherical shape. The flower center contains a ring of light pink stigmas around a group of smaller pink stamens.
The round green leaves have large teeth or lobes along the edge and a covering of short bristly hairs, while the red/brown stems have similar but longer hairs. Stems are usually unbranched. The five, pointed, green calyx lobes below the flowerhead are also hairy. Flowers are generally slightly larger than the leaves. Petals close at night, reopening the next morning, and the leaves move during the day to receive the maximum amount of sunlight.