The Rare Desert Rose with Photos

The “desert rose” is a rare beautiful natural occurrence caused by sand bypassing solutions loaded with metal oxides. As the water quickly evaporates, the oxides sediment to give the shape of a rose, which acquires its color from the oxides. The desert rose is characterized by crystalized oxides; the crystals deliver a striking luster and the texture of sand.

It “grows” through several stages and is usually formed at the upper level of groundwater through a series of interactions between minerals in the water, such as calcium, and limestone grains in the sand. Then, following a slow decomposition due to oxidizing agents and a transient powder phase, a second phase makes the magic happen.

In this second phase, the interaction with water forms the so-called hydrated calcium sulfate, which crystallizes. The process results in shapes very similar to flower petals intertwined at different angles, presenting an appearance with a striking resemblance to roses. The dessert rose occurs in various sizes, with the largest reaching a length of one meter (over 3 feet), displaying an exceptional and beautiful crystal shape, sand-colored or brown, which is predominant, and are found in warm, dry desert areas.