We just had a big rain in Joshua Tree–over an inch in a short period of time. After a rain like that, within hours, tiny plants start sprouting in what had been bare sand for a year. It may be because I haven’t paid close enough attention, or it may be because different seeds sprout after different kinds of rain events, but these plants are unfamiliar to me. I don’t know what they are called or even if I’ve seen them before.

This is about 4″ tall, the biggest I’ve seen so far.

This grows really fast. It’s about a foot wide.

This is maybe 1.5 inches across and appeared late–maybe a week after the rain.

This is less than an inch tall. It first looked like a miniature succulent, then a miniature cactus. Something is eating them down to a nub at a quick pace. It was one of the first to appear: http://instagram.com/p/dxmcnNF6TW/

This makes a low ground cover over maybe 10 square feet. It’s maybe 3/4 of an inch tall.

This came up late, too. The big ones are about an inch tall so far.

I just noticed this one today. The ring is about 4″ across.

I don’t think this one is a mystery. We call it ragweed and it shoots up anywhere the ground has been disturbed, like roadsides and scraped lots. This plant was about a foot tall but I’ve seen many of them waist-high.