Some years ago I hiked Molino Basin in the Catalina Mountains once a week so I got to know it very well. The cover of the Mountain Wildflower book shows a picture of the basin seen from a saddle on the east side. Here is a similar view.
Molino basin

There are about 600 flowering species in the Catalina Mountains and over half of them are in this one area. By hiking it on a regular basis for over a year I got to appreciate the great variety of plants that grow here. My particular goal today was to find the rare and beautiful Rivina humilis (rouge plant), which I saw in bud a few weeks ago.


Rivina humilisFL copy

Today I did find the plant. As far as I could see it was finished flowering but it was buried so deep in a thicket that I could not really tell. I was not able to get a close up picture, but at least I know it is still there, though not in great numbers. As you can see from the list below there were almost 60 species in bloom on my two-mile walk, so I was well rewarded for my efforts.





Right at the parking lot there is a climbing milkweed. The flowers come in bunches and I decided to photograph just one on its own.


Funastrum cynanchoides9









In the stream bed I found a number of the Mock Pennyroyal plants. This is similar to a plant of the same name that grows along the mountain trails at the top of the mountain, but has interesting differences.


Hedeoma dentata7face
I am sure I passed by many flowers too small to notice. The list includes some guesses. I did not take the time to do a careful inspection to determine the exact species, so there may be some errors in the list. At least it gives an idea of the wide variety of plants still blooming as we approach the fall.





Acacia angustissima          White –Ball Acacia
Amaranthus fimbriatus    Careless weed
Amaranthus palmeri       Careless weed
Amauriopsis (Bahia) dissecta    Ragleaf Bahia
Ambrosia confertiflora     Slimleaf Bursage – lots of it
Anisacanthus thurberi       Desert Honeysuckle – one plant
Artemisia dracunculus       False Tarragon
Artemisia ludoviciana     Wormwood – lots of it
Asclepias linaria         Pine-leaf Milkweed – one plant
Baccharis sarothroides      Desert Broom – in bud
Brickellia californica       California Brickellia
Brickellia rusbyi       Brickellia
Brickellia venosa       Brickellia
Calliandra eriophylla         Fairy Duster – one plant
Carminatia tenuiflora        Plume Weed
Datura wrightii         Sacred Datura
Dieteria asteroides        Narrow-leaf Aster – lots of it
Epilobium canum ssp. latifolium   Hummingbird Trumpet
Erigeron divergens     Spreading Fleabane
Eriogonum polycladon      Sorrel Eriogonum
Eriogonum wrightii           Wright’s Buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum   Flat-topped Buckwheat
Euphorbia pediculifera  Spurge
Funastrum (Sarcostemma) cynanchoides var. hartwegii  Climbing Milkweed (picture above)
Glandularia gooddingii       Goodding Verbena
Gomphrena sonorae         Globe Amaranth – maybe just fruit
Gossypium thurberi         Desert Cotton
Gymnosperma glutinosum       Gumhead – lots of it
Hedeoma dentata      Mock Pennyroyal (picture above)
Heliomeris  longifolia var. annua       Annual Goldeneye
Heterotheca subaxillaris      Camphorweed
Hymenothrix wrightii         Wright Beeflower
Ipomoea costellata         Crest-rib Morning Glory
Ipomoea barbatisepala     Morning Glory (blue)
Ipomoea cristulata (coccinea)       Scarlet Creeper
Ipomoea hederacea       Ivy-leaf  Morning Glory
Mentzelia isolata         Isolated Blazing-Star
Oenothera caespitosa       Tufted Evening- Primrose – one plant
Phaseolus acutifolius var. tenuifolius   Tepary Bean
Porophyllum ruderale var. macrocephalum    Poreleaf
Pseudognaphalium canescens Wright’s cudweed
Rivina humilis       Pigeon Berry, Rouge Plant  – in fruit
Salsola tragus        Russian Thistle
Sanvitalia abertii         Abert’s Dome
Sphaeralcea ambigua var. rosacea     Desert Mallow
Sphaeralcea fendleri var. venusta   Fendler Mallow
Sphaeralcea laxa       Caliche Globe Mallow
Stachys coccinea         Texas Betony – one plant
Stephanomeria pauciflora      Wire Lettuce
Viguiera dentata var. lancifolia     Lance-leaf Goldeneye
Xanthisma gracile      Slender Goldenweed – lots and lots of it


  1. Alacia Sooter says:

    Hi Frank –

    I finally got to take a look at your blog and am very impressed with the variety of flowers, trees and grasses you have documented from Mt. Lemmon! I can’t wait to look at the information you have in more depth. Thank you for taking the time and effort to publish – it has always been my desire to learn the names of many of these plants.

    Alacia (the trail runner you met at Molino Basin parking)

    • Frank says:

      Hi Alicia:
      I enjoyed meeting you on the trail. It seems to me that you asked a question. I went home and looked up the answer, but now I forget the question. Was that you? And what was the question?
      thanks for your note. Frank

  2. David Mount says:

    Frank – inspired by your report on Molino Basin, we went there this morning (Sept 14, 2014) for a breakfast hike. I took along your list to see what we could find. The stream was flowing and there were many flowering plants. We saw several species of Portulaca and many flowering legumes, and Abert’s dome using your description. The composites were not quite ready. We saw many pine leaf milkweed, and blue curls (Trichostema, which we have only seen in the Huachucas previously). Bouvardia and hummingbird trumpet were also present. There was one quite common yellow flowering plan that we have not been able to identify, and were wondering if you can help. It is a plant about 6 inches tall, with slightly lobed alternate but quite few leaves, and a yellow flower about 3/4 inch with 5 alternating petals and sepals. Unfortunately, someone has borrowed and not returned your book, or else we could probably find it in there. I also did not take a picture. I may have to go back and try again. If you are going back there, would love to join you. David

    • Frank says:

      Thanks for the comment. The yellow flower is probably Slender goldenweed – Xanthisma gracile. It is abundant, especially along the roadside.

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