Another wonderful Chilean endemic that I had the luck to view on a springtime tour of the desert in October 2008 (almost one year ago today, so if you are in the area, now would be a good time to look for this). Endemic means that a plant is found only in a particular region. According to the Flora of Chile Project, it is estimated that nearly half of the native species in Chile are endemic. This is probably due to the extremely varied and often isolated geographic conditions of the country, which range from the driest desert on Earth (the Atacama), to coastal cloud forest, to the Andes mountains, and to the cool, wet Tierra del Fuego.
Despite the lonely appearance of the wild plant in today’s photo, Cruckshanksia pumila is a floriferous annual plant that can form large colonies, and has potential as an ornamental groundcover. The tiny solitary plant in the photo was in a very dry spot and you can see the leaves are already senescing. Chilebosque has a nice collection of photos of the species.