Updated and partially rewritten on March 22, 2013 with re-identification confirmed by Tom Chester in comments below. Originally posted as Eriophyllum lanosum. — Daniel
Monoptilon bellioides is an annual herbaceous species, one of two recognized species in the genus. Both Monoptilon species are native to southwestern North America. Commonly named Mojave desertstar, Monoptilon bellioides is found in California, Nevada, Arizona and Baja California at elevations of 100-900m (325-2950ft.) in “sandy or gravelly flats or washes, dunes”, as noted in the link.