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Palafoxia sphacelata (Othake)
Smith, R.W.

Palafoxia sphacelata

Palafoxia sphacelata (Nutt. ex Torr.) Cory

Othake, Sand Palafoxia

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Othake sphacelata, Polypteris sphacelata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A slender, erect, sparsely leaved plant, usually glandular-hairy on upper parts, with few usually pink flower heads at ends of upper branches.

The related Spanish Needles (P. arida) has only very pale lavender disc flowers; on top of the fruit are four slender, pointed scales (the "Spanish needles"). It is common on sandy flats and in washes from southeastern California west to southwestern Utah and western Arizona.

This genus is named after José de Palafox y Melzi, Duke of Saragossa (1776–1847), a Spanish captain-general, in the war against the invading armies of Napoleon.


From the Image Gallery

14 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: CO , KS , NE , NM , OK , TX
Native Distribution: Kansas south and southwest to Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico.
Native Habitat: Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Caliche type


Use Ornamental: Rocky hillside, Wildflower meadow
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX


Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Palafoxia sphacelata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Palafoxia sphacelata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Palafoxia sphacelata


Record Modified: 2022-12-30
Research By: TWC Staff

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