On a bike ride out Lake Mead Blvd, past the highest point in the road and starting down the slope to Lake Mead, I stopped to turn around and head back home. I took a few minutes to catch my breath, and climbed a little hill right beside the road. To my astonishment I found a population of 20 of the endangered Bear-Paw Poppies in bloom. They have such beautiful rosettes of leaves, covered in fine hairs to help reduce water-loss in this dry environment. What a special surprise and delight!
These little guys are frequently referred to as “bear poppies” and “bear-paw poppies”, because of the characteristic form of the leaves. Arctomecon is a genus of the poppy family Papaveraceae. The three species are said to come about only in the western part of the Mojave Desert of North America. All species are known to be uncommon.