Gravel Ghost, also known as Tobacco Weed, Parachute Plant
Family: Asteraceae, commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family
The genus name, Atrichoseris, means ‘chicory plant without hairs’, referring to the fruit, and the specific epithet, platyphylla, means ‘flat-leaved’. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrichoseris)
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.
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)