Sonoran Desert Caltrops

Annuals, perennials and woody shrubs. Leaves mostly even compound. Flowers with many stamens. Fruit a schizocarp. Several species.

Creosote Bush

Larrea tridentata

Summer Poppy

Kallstroemia grandiflora

Pen & Ink Illustration © by Mike Plagens

Dominant woody shrub of Sonoran Desert plains (Chihuahuan & Mojavean also). Leaves with two resinous leaflets. Bright yellow flowers in spring and at other times of year. Fruit fuzzy white nutlets.    Detailed Description

Kallstroemia grandiflora, photo by Michael Plagens

Viney annual of late summer after adequate monsoon rains. Best growth is in spots that are temporarily inundated by flood waters. Compound leaves. Large, showy orange flowers. Bristly hairs on stems and leaves. Detailed Description

Puncture Vine

Tribulus terestris


Fagonia laevis

A sprawling, prostrate vine with dark green compound leaves and bright yellow flowers. Reaches maturity in summer and fall. Seeds with sharp points get into tires and feet. Non-native. Urban weed ... also into the Sonoran Desert in mostly disturbed sites. Detailed Description

Low sub-shrub with four spines arrayed at each stem node. Small, but colorful pink or magenta flowers with long-clawed petals. Found at low to middle elevations of the Sonoran Desert on rocky slopes or wash banks.    Detailed Description

California Caltrop

Kallstroemia californica

Warty Caltrop

Kallstroemia parviflora

Summer annual growing low, scrambling along soil surface. Small, five-pointed, yellow flowers. Compound leaves. Disturbed soil at roadsides and along washes. Detailed Description

Summer annual growing low, scrambling along soil surface. Flowers larger than Calif. Caltrop and with leaves pubescence. Detailed Description

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