We are now in Copiapo, the real desert, a 10 hour drive north of Santiago and I have one great regret and that is not to be here at the moment when the desert blooms, as it is exactly here where this miracle happens!
The flowering desert occurs between the months of July and August but by no means every year, there must be enough rainfall to awaken the seeds and bulbs that have been dormant for sometimes years in the parched sands. The desert becomes green and then as the multitude of different flowers bloom, it is full with a myriad of different colours. The blooming flowers attract insects and wildlife and the desert comes to life. I hope one day I will return to the area just for this.
I did however spot the three flowers above struggling to survive in the desert heat and for me they are also miraculous. The first photo was taken in the desert surrounding Copiapo, there were no plants except this one that happened to be flowering, I don't know what it is, so here goes f0r it's description; a small hardy plant with light purple flowers, 5 fused petals and 5 fused sepales, 5 stamens, 1 style and a superier ovary. Small leaves with an edging very similar to Teucrium chamaedrys, the leaves and stalk are covered with a white "duvet" and there are longish white hairs along the edge of the leaves.
The second photo was taken in the desert of Pisqou-Elqui, where the odd shrub or cactus still survives, it looks very like a lin but as yet I haven't had enough time on Internet to check this out. The third photo was also taken around Pisqou-Elqui, I found it mentioned in my Chilean wildlife book, Adesmia purmila, a fabacaea. I was pleased to meet this single flower with its urge to survive, the only one left on its scrubby bush in the blazing heat gave me such joy.