The other day. when we were hiking at the Virginia Highlands in the Virginia Range--southeast of Reno, NV--I found several daggerpod plants (Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides) growing on the rocky slopes. I had never seen a daggerpod before, so I was very excited! Daggerpod is a neat looking plant, they have a cluster of fuzzy gray-green leaves that look as if someone came along and folded them in half and are now they are unable to open back up.
Daggerpods belong to the mustard (Brassicaceae) family and have the typical four petaled flowers. The flowers are light pink, similar to the pink of a wild rose flower and they grow in a cluster (like most mustards) at the end of a long steam. The flowers tend to grow along the ground, out of the sides of the plant, forming a pretty purple halo around the cluster of leaves. The fruits, in contrast to the soft leaves, have sharp-edged blades that give it it's common name--daggerpod.