A recent Facebook post from a friend of mine asking to identify a spider in Illinois reminded me of this time I brought in a Desert Sunflower with a stowaway. In Greenehaven, AZ back in 1997, from the desert behind the house down to Lake Powell was a blooming sea of yellow Desert Sunflower and orange Globe Mallow. I had snipped a couple flowers to display inside and later that day noticed a very well camouflaged spider.
The Flower Crab Spider has the ability to change color by secreting a liquid yellow pigment into the outer cell layer of the body. The spider itself is normally white. My friend had also brought in a Flower Crab Spider on some white flowers. This species habitat actually spans the entire Northern Hemisphere! The Desert Sunflower, however, is native to the Southwest.