Desert Wildflowers: Gravel Ghost

image of a wildflower, gravel ghost
Gravel Ghost

Gravel Ghost, also known as Tobacco Weed, Parachute Plant

Atrichoseris platyphylla

Family: Asteraceae, commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family

Fun Facts

The genus name, Atrichoseris, means ‘chicory plant without hairs’, referring to the fruit, and the specific epithet, platyphylla, means ‘flat-leaved’. (Source:
The plant is adapted to the desert environment and is able to survive in extremely dry conditions by reducing water loss through its thick, scaly leaves. The leaves grow in a flat rosette around the base, from where the thick grey-green flower stalk rises up to 3 feet, branching a few times towards the top.


The plant is native to the deserts of the southwestern United States (southern California, Arizona, Nevada and the southwestern corner of Utah) and northwestern Mexico (Sonora, Baja California). It grows in sandy locations, like washes.

Bloom Season


I have observed this wildflower in 2023 in the following Southern California desert areas:

Box Canyon Rd, Mecca, CA (March 2023)

Joshua Tree National Park, Cottonwood area (March 2023)



    1. Thank you! I am happy you offer this challenge. It’s a great place to share my new wildflower photos. 🙂

    1. Thanks! They are a little elusive but can be found in sandy desert washes.

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