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Psathyrotopsis scaposa (Naked turtleback)
Alex, Betty

Psathyrotopsis scaposa

Psathyrotopsis scaposa (A. Gray) H. Rob.

Naked Turtleback, Naked Brittlestem

Asteraceae (Aster Family)

Synonym(s): Psathyrotes scaposa

USDA Symbol: PSSC14

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A perennial, but often completing its life-cycle in one year. Few to many branches from one to three stems. "Leaves mostly basal; alternate; petiolate; blades rounded-deltate, lanceolate, or rhombic, margins crenate, serrate, or subentire, faces tomentose and stipitate-glandular." (Webref 3). Nearly globose discoid heads are born on terminal corymbose capitulescences. Disc flowers are white to yellow.

This is a species of the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, southern New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual , Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Deltoid , Lanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Glandular
Leaf Margin: Crenate , Serrate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Inflorescence: Corymb , Head
Size Notes: To about 16 inches in height. More often around 12 inches.
Leaf: "Leaf blades rounded-deltate, lanceolate, or rhombic." (Webref 3).
Flower: Ray florets lacking; disc florets yellowish-white to creamy-white.
Fruit: Fruit a narrowly obconic cypsela with a persistent pappus of 70 to 90 bristles. (Webref 3).

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Sep , Oct , Nov
Bloom Notes: Flowers white to bright yellow. February-May (June) and September-November (mostly following rains). (Webref 3), (Bibref 293).


Native Distribution: Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico.
Native Habitat: Gypseous and calcareous soils in creosote bush scrub-lands; 7001300 m. (Webref 3).

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Gypseous or calcareous soils.


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

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Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2018-05-03
Research By: Joseph A. Marcus

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