Spanish Needles

Palafoxia arida

Palafoxia arida photo © left by Michael Plagens

Among roadside vegetation in sandy soil at Tacna, Yuma Co., Arizona. 20 Feb. 2016. The orange curly structures are the paired stigmas of the female pistil. The flowers have already been pollinated and the seeds are developing.

Sponsored Links:

RANGE: Western Arizona and also the Mohave Desert of California and Nevada. It is generally restricted to sandy soils.

ANNUAL: Can only be found growing in the spring after seasonal rains. Depending on the amount of rainfall this plant can be rather small, 30 cm or mush taller with larger flower heads.

FLOWERS: Heads consist of a few to more than three dozen disc florets; there are no ray flowers. The narrow phyllaries are usually glandular pubescent. Color can range from white to pink-lavender.

FRUIT: Each disc floret develops into a narrow, needle-like achene. There are about five papery scales atop each seed.

LEAVES: Long narrow leaves are disposed along the flowering stems.

Palafoxia arida photo © left by Michael Plagens Palafoxia arida photo © left by Michael Plagens

Asteraceae - Sunflower Family

More Information:

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


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 28 Feb. 2016.