Nolina microcarpa

Observed in Devil's Canyon, Pinal County, Arizona, USA. 20 June 2012.

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Blooming flowers are attractive to a variety of insects:

Bombyliidae Flower Fly
Nolina microcarpa, photo © by Mike Plagens

SUCCULENT: The leaves, many, many dozens, are all basal and clustered at ground level.

UNARMED: Neither the leaf tips nor the margins are sharp.

LEAVES: Leaf bases are thick and then taper gradually until the leaf ends are fine and grasslike, often shredded into several threads. The margins are minutely serrate, easily felt when sliding the hand towards base.

RANGE: Very common in the transition of the Sonoran Desert to chaparral or juniper woodlands. Also found much higher in elevation, mixing into ponderosa and oak woodlands. This plant is also used in desert xeriscapes.

FLOWERS: The flowers are borne on tall, spindly branches and crowded with numerous papery bracts in addition. There are numerous short side branches and tens of thousands of small flowers. Flowers in late spring.

FRUIT: Small fruits are dry when mature and have one to three seeds.

Agavaceae / Asparagaceae -- Agave Family

More Information:

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 28 December 2012,
updated 16 July 2015