It’s not all white sand and red rock in the deserts of the Southwest! Desert plants add their splashes of color across the dry landscape of bottomlands and mesas. Some flowers are large and showy: hedgehog cactus set the table with claret cups; prickly pear serve up large yellow flowers; soaptree yucca send up a tall centerpiece stalk lined with large creamy flowers.
In the spaces between white sand dunes—the interdunal flats—the flowers are smaller, and maybe even hardier than the cacti that grow beyond the dunes or the yuccas that grow up through the dunes. Little sand verbena sprouts tiny clusters of purple petals. Centaury plants bloom brightly pink. Blazing star shoots up its tiny firework of yellow on a foot-tall stalk.
There are many more wildflowers to look for on the dunes’ edges and in the interdunal flats, dotting White Sands National Monument with their seasonal colors.