Fremont's indigo bush, Fremont's dalea
Southeast California, northwest Arizona, south Nevada and south Utah
Deserts; gravelly washes, sandy plains, sand dunes
Pinnate, compound, 2.5 inches long
For most of the year psorothamnus fremontii is a nondescript shrub, with twisted, grey, woody stems and a sparse covering of leaves, resembling many other bushy species in the hot, dry deserts of the Southwest. But in spring it produces numerous small flowers that have a particularly deep, rich shade of purple-blue, and persist for several weeks. Each individual flower is about half an inch long, part of an elongated cluster of 10 to 25 heads at the tips of the outermost branches, measuring 5 inches or so. The petals have darker veins running lengthwise, and enclose stamens tipped by prominent yellow anthers. Leaves have a covering of silvery strigose hairs.