Coulter's Brickell Bush

Brickellia coulteri

Pen & Ink Brickellia coulteri by Michael Plagens

Illustrated from a specimen found at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Pima County, Arizona on 26 April 1992.

ACHENE:The numerous, small, inconspicuous flower heads of Brickell Bush usually go unnoticed until the heads mature into puffballs resembling smaller versions of dandelion heads.

PAPPUS: Numerous white or beige capillary bristles.

SHRUB: A smallish shrub with slender, slightly woody stems. The whole plant frequently dies back to the crown when conditions are severe.

FLOWERS: The bracts barely open, exposing just the tips of the whitish disc flowers. The small arrow-shaped leaves are a good identifying characteristic.

RANGE: Very common in the shade of wash bank trees or the north side of large boulders and mountain ridges.


Photo of Brickellia coulteri by Michael Plagens

This group of flower heads have reddish-green bracts. South Mountain Park, Phoenix, Arizona on 29 May 2009.

There are many species of Brickellia besides B. coulteri; All have rather small flower heads, with no rays, rather colorless disc flowers, and a pappus of white, fluffy capillary bristles. The main differences are the size, shape and texture of the leaves. All seem to have the habit of growing in partial shade near cliffs or wash banks.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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Sonoran Desert Field Guide
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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 6 April 1999,
updated 21 Nov. 2018.