Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Simaroubaceae >>> Castela emoryi

Crucifixion Thorn

Castela emoryi

 
Photo by Michael Plagens hosted a Wikimedia Project. Click for full resolution view.

Photographed sw of Arlington, Arizona, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 17 February 2008. This image is hosted at the Wikimedia Project

Photo by Michael Plagens hosted a Wikimedia Project. Click for full resolution view.

Cluster of woody fruits - these lighter brown capsules appear to be maybe a year or two old. They can remain on the plant for many years. Photographed sw of Arlington, Arizona, Maricopa Co., Arizona. 17 February 2008. This image is hosted at the Wikimedia Project

SHRUB or TREE : Grows with one to several main stems to a height of 5 Meters.

ARMED. All twig ends are drawn into straight, stiff, very sharp thorns.

LEAVES: Leaves are reduced to inconspicuous scales. The stems and twigs are green, photosynthetic

RANGE: Southwestern Arizona and southeastern California at lower elevations that are largely free of killing frosts. Also in Sonora, Mexico. Mostly grows in deep, silty soils where it taps into ground water.

FRUIT: Dry, woody capsules in clusters remain on the plant for many years, turning darker brown with each passing year. Seeds remain enclosed within to be released up to several years after production, when rain and other conditions are more favorable.

FLOWERS: Green, inconspicuous flowers less than a cm in diameter.

Simaroubaceae -- Simarouba Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008