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Pebble Pincushion

Chaenactis carphoclinia

Chaenactis carphoclinia photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near townsite of Brenda, near Quartzite, La Paz County, Arizona, USA. 30 April 2010.

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FLOWERS: Flower heads are composed entirely of five-pointed disc florets, ten to twenty or more per head. All of the florets including those at the margin are about the same size. Color in most specimens is white, occasionally pinkish. Blooming March and April in the Sonoran Desert and highly dependent on adequate rainfall - absent in drought years. The bracts surrounding the head are rather sharply pointed.

ANNUAL: Small to medium-sized annual of desert pavement as between creosote bush. Few plants exceed 30 cm tall. Several branches to main stem variously coated with a scurfy, reddish-brown pubescence.

LEAVES: Leaves are discected into linear segments. Under magnification cobwebby hairs present on petioles and leaves.

RANGE: Occasional to common in open areas of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Also found in California Mojave Desert and New Mexico Chihuahuan Desert. Absent in drought years.

FRUIT: Single seeds, achenes, develop from each floret and are topped by some small scales.

UNARMED. Tips of the phyllaries (bracts surrounding flower heads) are slightly prickly when dried.

Asteracaceae -- Sunflower Family

More Information:

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010