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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - January 10, 2012

From: Flagstaff, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Arrow weed
Answered by: Anne Ruggles

QUESTION:

Is arrow weed (Pluchea serecia) shade tolerant? Do you have an on-line resource for native species?

ANSWER:

Arrow weed (Pluchea sericea) is a shrub in the aster family that is native to the southwest. It is a 3 -5 ft high willow-like shrub with slender erect branches and tiny pink flowers. Native Americans used it to make shafts for arrows because of its long, straight stems. Arrow weed forms dense stands along some rivers including the Colorado River in Arizona. All the photos that I can find of it show it growing in relatively open sites. Although, since it can be found in riparian areas, it may tolerate some shade.

The Arizona Desert Museum also has a page devoted to the species that includes images.

Calflora, a project of the University of California, Berkley, has a page for the species that shows its distribution in California and there are images here.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plants Database also has a page for the specices showing its distribution in North America.

If you go to our recommended species page you will find links to native species lists by state. On our site you will also find a link to a native plant species list for the desert southwest.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Arrow weed
Pluchea sericea

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