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   These two photos were taken in the Yuha/Anza Borrego Desert over near Ocotillo, California. Martin Feldner ID'd this plant for us. It is not a mushroom or fungi, even though it looks like it could be. This is a rare and somewhat protected plant. It has small purple flowers and is not often seen in the desert.
   This is a parasitic plant and was photographed courtesy of Patsy Lowe while exploring in the desert of southern California. If you should happen to see one please don't disturb it. Take a photo, by all means.
   What is the difference between moss and lichen?  Lichens have a symbiotic partnership between fungi and algae. The fungi supplies the water and nutrients and the algae supplies sugar, oxygen and is able to fix nitrogen. The algae may be a bacteria such as cyanobacteria or a plant such as a green algae. They are long lived and exude acids that can break down rock into plant available nutrients and are often found in young soils or extreme landscapes. There are an incredible variety of lichens in many different colors. Lichen is a combination of Fungus and Algae, while moss is a plant.
   Mosses are non vascular plants, plants without leaves, roots or stems. They need moisture to survive though dried moss can somethimes be revived with water.
   All three of these color variations were photographed in the same exact spot. As a general rule, Lichens grow on rocks, whereas moss grows on the ground and on trees. Use the Magnifying Glass for a larger view.
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Parasitic Plants, Fungi, Lichens

Desert Christmas Tree
Desert Christmas Tree

Desert Christmas Tree

( Pholixma arenarium )

Lichens are a Fungi
Lichen is pronounced  "like - en"

Lichens
Lichens
Lichens
Lichens

Squash, Gourd Family

Coyote Melons

Click on this Image!

Coyote Melon, Coyote Gourd

( Cucurbita palmata )

   These gourds/melons are found all over in the desert southwest. They have pretty gold, yellow and orange flowers from April through September. The fruit inside is not edible and has a bad taste. The seeds are edible and contain a source of protein (31%). This plant has a very long taproot. The dried gourds have been used as rattles and containers.
   We've found these gourds/melons in several states in the desert southwest in dry, arid places with little water. This is not a commonly found plant. Click on the image to see its different stages of growth.

Also called Indian Melons/Gourds

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