One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A flowerlike aggregate of crystals of a mineral occurring in arid areas.
- ‘The Desert Rose "grows" by replacing carbonate sediment in soil overlying gypsum deposits.’
- ‘In sabkhas gypsum surrounded by sediment grains forms ‘desert roses’.’
- ‘It has been meeting once a month, with their most recent achievement being the shade structure in the shape of a desert rose put up at the Skate Park the week before last.’
- ‘Gypsum is sometimes called "desert rose" if it takes a certain shape.’
- ‘The most common to be formed is gypsum which grows within the sediment in an interconnected mass of bladed crystals known as desert rose.’
2A succulent plant with pink, tubular flowers and a swollen, woody stem containing toxic, milky sap that is sometimes used for arrow poison. It is native to East Africa and Arabia.
Adenium obesum, family Apocynaceae
- ‘The desert rose, the ocean flower, and the forest queen were all that they were known as to the others of the galaxy.’
- ‘He has sent flowers such as Gerbera bouquets, sunflowers, desert roses, and plants for different occasions.’
- ‘The emperor wanted a desert rose for his garden.’
- ‘Then, using canning tongs to handle the prickly pear cactus pads, attach them to the base with wood florist's picks, leaving an opening at the top for the fan palms and desert rose.’
3A dense shrub with pinkish-lilac flowers and black spotted leaves and fruit. Native to arid regions of Australia, it is the floral emblem of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Gossypium sturtianum, family Malvaceae
- ‘The Floral Emblem in both its common and botanical names, Sturt's Desert Rose (Gossypium sturtianum) honours its discoverer, the inland explorer Captain Charles Sturt (1795-1868).’
- ‘When, usually in summer, there is an unexpected shower of rain the desert is covered with a carpet of flowers, including Sturt's desert rose, the heraldic flower of the Northern Territory.’
- ‘Since the granting of self-government to the Northern Territory in 1978, Sturt's Desert Rose has been incorporated into various insignia and so become symbolic of the region.’
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