Frémont’s Pincushion, also known as Desert Pincushion
Family: Asteraceae, commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family
Chaenactis fremontii is often the most abundant spring wildflower in the lower Mojave and northern Sonoran deserts, where it is a significant food source for desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii Cooper). It also extends seaward into the southern San Joaquin Valley area of west-central California, often as hybrids with other taxa.
Chaenactis fremontii is native to California, Arizona, Nevada, Southern Utah, and Mexico (Baja California). The plant is often found in washes, alluvial fans, hillsides, and sandy or gravelly locations.
I have observed this wildflower in 2023 in the following Southern California desert areas:
Whitewater Preserve (March 2023)
Mission Creek Preserve (March 2023)
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains (April 2023)