Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony

Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony, Southwest Desert Flora Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony, Southwest Desert Flora     Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony, Southwest Desert Flora Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony, Southwest Desert Flora     Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Acourtia nana
Common Name: Dwarf Desertpeony
Also Called: Desert Holly
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Perezia nana)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: Small 6 to 10 inches.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; single green stem, few leaves.
Leaves: Green; dark green, smooth, sessile, broadly oval resembles holly leaf, often with only 2 or 3 leaves fewer with 6 or more leaves, margins lobed with small spines.
Flower Color: Pink, lavender-pink or white; bilabiate disk flowers only, flower heads with 15 or more florets, fruit an achene with a soft fluffy whitish-tan pappus.
Flowering Season: March to June, sometimes later.
Elevation: Up to 6,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Lower to middle deserts, desert scrub or chaparral communities, mesas, slopes, gravel and heavy clay or caliche soils.
Recorded Range: Acourtia nana is native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. In the United States it is relatively rare as it is found only in AZ, NM and TX. In Arizona it is found in much of the southern part of the state and Yavapai County. It is also well represented in New Mexico, less so in Texas where it is mostly found in the central west part of the state.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: 5 species in Acourtia in southwestern United States. 3 species in Arizona: Acourtia nana, Dwarf Desertpeony; Acourtia thurberi, Thurber’s Desertpeony and Acourtia wrightii, Brownfoot.

Comments: Dwarf Desertpeony is a small forb, relatively common in select areas where its herbage is slight with only a few leaves per plant. Dwarf Desertpeony, or Desert Holly as it is also often called somewhat resembles its big sister Brownfoot or Wright’s Desertpeony, Acourtia wrightii, and they are often found in similar areas. Their flowers are very similar and both are observed under the protection of bushes or trees. It has a pleasant fragrance reminiscent of violets.

Also see Thurber’s Desertpeony, Acourtia thurberi.

Date Profile Completed: 8/27/2012; Updated, 07/25/2015
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, as Perezia nana.
Beryl B. Simpson, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Acourtia, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. – Accessed 8/27/2012
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,