The big round sombrero hat is skunkbrush sumac--"When skunkbush sumac is buried by a dune, it sends many stems upward through the sand. The extensive roots produced by the buried stems hold the sand in place, creating a pedestal of gypsum where the plant will continue to grow long after the rest of the dune has moved on. The hoary Rosemary-mint , a fragrant shrub with grayish-green leaves, creates smaller pedestals.
I'll post an even more magnificent one when I do the sunset images. Makes this one look like an infant! The bowled area around it always seem to resemble a sombrero.
Did You Know? The white sands dune field is an active dune field. The dunes move from west to east as much as thirty feet per year (from the NPS site).
Cottonwoods. There are little Cottonwood trees trying to grow here. The one that this leaf was on was barely a foot tall. The size of this leaf is about that of a silver dollar.
There is nothing simple about this kind of beauty, and yet there is. It's hard for me to put into words. It's jaw dropping. Breathtaking. Humbling. Immense. Magnificent. It's not listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but perhaps it should be the 8th.
For more info on the White Sands area: