Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or you can choose a plant family:
Thymophylla pentachaeta (Parralena)
Nugent, Louis R

Thymophylla pentachaeta

Thymophylla pentachaeta (DC.) Small

Parralena, Fiveneedle Pricklyleaf, Five-needle Fetid Marigold

Asteraceae (Aster Family)


USDA Symbol: THPE4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A low, tufted, dark green, prickly plant with 1 small, deep yellow flower head on each of several leafless stalks above foliage.

This common low plant frequently grows near Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) and Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) or among piņon, juniper, and Snakeweed. The closely related Prickly Fetid Marigold (T. acerosa) is more woody and prickly, with flower heads that sit among undivided leaves. Both species were once included in the larger genus Dyssodia. Thymophylla is one of dozens of western North American genera that also have species in southern South America but have no species in the great distance between these two regions. This range distribution probably requires the long-distance dispersal of seeds, perhaps by migratory birds.


From the Image Gallery

30 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Subshrub
Size Notes: Up to about 10 inches tall.
Fruit: Fruit is a cypsela (pl. cypselae). Though technically incorrect, the fruit is often referred to as an achene.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: Southern Utah south to southeastern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.
Native Habitat: Open deserts and arid, rocky plains.

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Naval Air Station Kingsville - Kingsville, TX
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
National Butterfly Center - Mission, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0201 Collected Apr 4, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-01-30
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back