Size: Up to 1 to 6 inches (2.5-15 cm) more or less
Growth Form:Forb/herb; laying prostrate; stems spreading widely and loosely; stems often reddish-purple and with stiff hairs.
Leaves: Green; leaves linear, succulent looking with stiff hairs; leaves arranged alternately along the stem.
Flower Color: White or rose-tinged with maturity, centers yellow; flowers are large, ¾ of an inch (2 cm) compared to the rest of the plant; single (solitary) flower heads with both ray and diskflorets; flowers open in the morning and close in the evenings; fruit is a cypsela.
Flowering Season: January or February to April or May
Elevation: 200 to 2,300 feet (61-1067 m)
Habitat Preferences: Sandy, stony or gravelly flats; desert washes, dunes, stony mesas and slopes.
Recorded Range:Monoptilon bellioides is found in far southwestern United States in Arizona, California and Nevada. Greatest populations in western Arizona, southeast California and southern Nevada. It is also native to Baja California and northwest Mexico, Sonora.
Genus Information: In North America there are 2 species and 2 accepted taxa overall for genus. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 2 accepted species names and a further 2 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Monoptilon.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, California and Nevada each have 2 species of Monoptilon, Texas has 0 species and Utah has 1 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments: Although commonly called "Mojave" Desertstar, this species is found in both the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts while its closely related sister commonly known as "Daisy" Desertstar (M. bellidiforme) is found primarily in the Mojave Desert Species. Note that this species is very small unless the winters rains are above average in which case the plants may grow to 6 inches (15 cm) or more (10 inches - 25 cm) and populations may cover large areas of typically bare desert ground.
Both species are difficult to distinguish from each other; technical differences include numbers and shape of bristles in the pappus. Other more recognizable differences such as stem color (reddish-purple in Mojave Desertstar vs yellow-green in Daisy Desertstar) and size (up to 10 inches (25 cm) in Mojave Desertstar vs up to 3 inches (8 cm) in Daisy Desertstar) are too variable for practical applications.
Mojave Desertstar, Monoptilon bellioides showy white, daisy-like flowers, seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
Mojave Desertstar, Monoptilon bellioides showy white, daisy-like brightly colored flowers and plants may be visited by butterflies, moths and other insects in search of food and nectar.
The genus “Monoptilon” (Monop'tilon:) is from the Greek monos, “one,” and ptilon, “feather,” referring to the pappus of the original species which is a single bristle-like structure.