Arizona Naturalists >>> Ponderosa Woodland Flora >>> Rosaceae >>> Cowania mexicana

Mexican Cliff Rose

Purshia mexicana
(Cowania mexicana)

Cliff Rose, Cowania mexicana, photo © by Mike Plagens

In open ponderosa woodland near the headwaters of the East Verde River, Gila Co., Arizona, USA. 22 Aug. 2010.

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FLOWERS: Five bright white petals surround a disc of yellow stamens.
Cliff Rose, Cowania mexicana, photo © by Mike Plagens
LEAVES: Palmately or pinately compound leaves with three to seven lobes. Dark green, evergreen leaves are shiny-resinous.

SHRUB: An intricately branched shrub occasionally as tall as 2 m tall.

RANGE: Found in interior chaparral, piñon-juniper and adjoining habitats. In open areas between trees in ponderosa woodlands. In the USA restricted to Arizona but found in nw. Mexico as well.

FRUIT: The multiple ovaries of the fruit are joined but not fused. The styles of each ovary elongate into a plumose tail making the whole fruit very conspicuous.

UNARMED. No thorns. As with many chaparral plants the branches of cliff rose are very stiff.

Rosaceae -- Rose Family

More Information:

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Arizona Naturalists
Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands
The Flora of Arizona's Ponderosa Woodlands


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 18 August 2011