Acourtia wrightii

Pen & Ink Illustration of Acourtia wrightii © by Michael J. Plagens

Sketched from live specimen observed in eastern Maricopa Co., Arizona. An enlarged view of a flower head showing the two-lipped florets is at lower right.

By May Acourtia wrightii enters dormancy and the above ground portions change to a bright yellow-brown. Image is part of the Wikimedia Project.

FLOWERS: Heads are made up entirely of two-lipped florets - typically twelve or fewer. They are an appealing pink color and produce an exquisite perfume.

PERENNIAL HERB: Woody crown just at and below soil line. Fresh growth is produced in spring given good rains. Frequently growing in the partial shade a desert tree, such as Foothills Palo Verde.

LEAVES: Tough, alternate leaves are sharply serrated and clasp the stem. With return of desert drought by June the leaves turn conspicuous yellow-brown but remain attached to the stems/crown thus serving as a ‘Brown Foot’ to the tree beneath which the plant grows.

FRUIT: A slender achene topped with an array of fine bristles.

RANGE: A common plant in the Sonoran Desert found in the foothills of mountains especially along the eastern flanks and hence into the Chihuahuan Desert.


Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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inflorescence of Acourtia wrightii

Observed in North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness, Arizona. 16 March 2014.

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2014, page updated 18 March 2014.