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Arizona Cottontop

Digitaria californica
(Trichachne californica)

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Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Camp Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona. August 3, 2008.

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


LEAVES: Narrow leaves are less than ½ cm wide.

RANGE: Frequent throughout 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 at elevations above the Sonoran Desert and through the Chihuahuan Desert to Texas.

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.

Poaceae -- Grass Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009