Over a year ago (11-15-11 to be exact) my post featured squaw carpet (Ceanothus prostratus), a prostrate, evergreen shrub that adds green color to ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) understories, even during the depths of winter. Squaw carpet, also commonly called mahala mat, is now in bloom, the lilac to purple blossoms blanketing the forest floor and nearby dry slopes.
The flowers of squaw carpet occur in loose bundles at the terminal ends of the reddish-brown stems. Five petals and five stamens form each flower. The petals are rolled inward at the throat and are hood-like at the tip. Although the inflorescence (flower cluster) is pretty, each individual flower is, to my eye, a spectacular little gem.
I photographed these squaw carpet flowers along the road between Adin and Madeline in Lassen County CA. They are native and can be found in the Pacific Coast states, Nevada and Idaho.