You know you haven’t been hiking or botanizing out in the desert or grassland enough when you look to the roadsides for interesting plants, but I’ll tell you what, if you keep your eyes open you’ll find some cool stuff mixed in with the weedy annuals, like the whiteball acacia I mention or milkweeds or coyote gourd or clematis. Sometime there are pure stands of native grasses like sideoats grama right after you pass a thicket Johnson grass, so it ain’t all bad.
Both camphor-weed (Heterotheca subaxillaris) and lizard tail (Oenothera curtiflora, the former Gaura parviflora) are native annuals and have a wide range across the United States. I can tell you that they are very happy in the jungle like mix of grasses and forbs growing along the two lane blacktops of Cochise County, Arizona.
The photos are mine. I just had to get that highway stripe in there with the camphor weed. The highway shot gives you an idea of the long runs of roadside weeds. That’s the Dragoons in the distance with the Chiricahuas directly behind me.