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Flatspine Stickseed

Lappula occidentalis

Stickseed, Lappula occidentalis, scan © by Michael Plagens

Observed on the slopes of Sentinel Peak (A-Mountain) in Tucson, Pima Co., Arizona, February 2012. Developing fruit and no open flowers in this image.

flower of Lappula occidentalis FRUIT: The nutlets are surrounded by spines that turn the nutlets into a bur. The seeds will be found in abundance in the socks of hikers that pass through the dried, after-spring plants. These bur-seeds are small, less than 2 mm dia.

SPRING ANNUAL: Ephemeral spring annual appearing in the Sonoran Desert late Jan. to early April depending on moisture.

FLOWERS: Small, bright-white, five-lobed flowers occurring one or two open at a time at the top of the scorpioid spikes.

LEAVES: Elyptical leaves with conspicuous whitish hairs.

RANGE: Sporadic in the Sonoran Desert on rocky slopes and flats and common in open semi-arid habitats across much of the western North America.

Boraginaceae -- Borage Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 25 February 2012