Boerhavia coccinea

Boerhavia coccinea photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in Phoenix, Arizona, USA in August 2007. This photo is also hosted at Wikimedia. Enlarged views of flowers at upper left.

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FLOWERS: Four to ten small flowers are grouped together in a head-like cluster presenting a sphere of scarlet. Like the other spiderlings the inflorescence branches repeatedly creating an intricate web of stems.

RANGE: Common weed on vacant city lots and road sides in mostly disturbed habitats in the Sonoran Desert. Can also be found growing within major washes and on rocky slopes.

LEAVES: Opposite leaves are larger than other Sonoran Desert  Boerhavias, unequal in size, and the nodes are enlarged. Note the reddish tint to leaf margins.

SEEDS: In fruit the peduncles elongate and the arrangement is umbellate. Small seeds inside sticky, club-shaped capsules.

SUMMER ANNUAL/PERENNIAL: Appears after warms season rains growing rather close to the soil. Robust plants may spread out more than a meter in diameter. A stout taproot may survive for that one season if adequate moisture persists.


By late summer the caterpillars of the of the White-lined Sphinx are often found on this and related plants.

Five-lined Sphinx

White-lined Sphinx

Nyctaginaceae -- Four O'Clock Family

More Info:

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

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 Aug. 2007,
updated 18 Nov. 2018.