Arizona Cottontop

Digitaria californica
(Trichachne californica)

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Arizona Cotton-top, Digitaria californica, photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Sunflower, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Sept. 2, 2017.

PERENNIAL: The flowering culms rise to well over a meter. Tufted, i.e., many growing shoots emerge from a central, tough, root stock.


LEAVES: Narrow leaves are less than ½ cm wide.

RANGE: Frequent throughout the higher elevations of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico at roadsides and on rocky slopes/bajadas. Obscure until after summer rains when the flowering begins. Also found along the margins of riparian canyons.

FRUIT: The grains are subtended by silky-haired bracts.

FLOWERS: Silky hairs make for an attractive inflorescence. Blooms mid to late summer after summer rains have started.

Digitaria californica photo © by Michael Plagens

Poaceae -- Grass Family

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More Information:

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 Aug. 2008<
updated 4 Sept. 2017.