A small, round, gray shrub with many twigs bearing funnel-shaped, pink or reddish-lavender flowers in small, feathery clusters.
The feathery calyx, surrounding and carrying the tiny, one-seeded fruit, is blown by the wind. This plant was once placed in the genus Coldenia, a genus now realized to be restricted to the Eastern Hemisphere; Western Hemisphere plants form the genus Tiquilia. Shaggy Tiquilia (T. canescens), a tufted or matted plant with pale lavender or whitish flowers, is found in southern California east to Texas and south to northern Mexico.
The species name “greggii” was named for Josiah Gregg, (1806-1850). He was born in Overton County, Tennessee. In the summer of 1841 and again in the winter of 1841-42 he traveled through Texas, up the Red River valley, and later from Galveston to Austin and by way of Nacogdoches to Arkansas. He took note of Texas geology, trees, prevalent attitudes, and politics. At the same time, Gregg began compiling his travel notes into a readable manuscript. His “Commerce of the Prairies”, which came out in two volumes in 1844, was an immediate success. In 1848 he joined a botanical expedition to western Mexico and California, during which he corresponded with and sent specimens to the eminent botanist George Engelman in St. Louis. Subsequently, the American Botanical Society added the Latin name “greggii” in his honor to twenty-three species of plants. Gregg died on February 25, 1850, as a result of a fall from his horse.
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