Acourtia thurberi, Thurber's Desertpeony
Scientific Name: Acourtia thurberi
Common Name: Thurber's Desertpeony
Also Called: Thurber Perezia (Spanish: Mata Gusano, Cola de Zorra, Pipichowa)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Acourtia mexicana, Perezia thurberi, Perdicium mexicanum)
Size: Up to 5 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect, with grooved, glandular, green stems.
Leaves: Green; dull, alternate, cauline and/or basal; sessile, leaves ovate to ovate-elliptical; leaf bases shortly sagittate or clasping; margins acerose-denticulate; surface glandular-puberulent.
Flower Color: Purple or variable shades of purple, pink or lavender; flower heads narrow, clustered in dense corymb-like panicles; phyllaries in 2 to 3 series, narrow with acuminate tips, densely glandular hairy on the outer surface; florets 3 to 6 per head (in contrast to A. wrightii which has 8 to 12 florets per head); bisexual; corollas bilabiate with 2 lobes on one side and 3 lobes on the other side; fruit is an achene with a bristly bright white pappus.
Flowering Season: June to October; October to November in California.
Elevation: 3,200 to 6,400 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Rocky hillsides, slopes and canyons; gravel and caliche soils, Sonoran Desert scrub.
Recorded Range: Acourtia thurberi is native to the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. In the United States it is limited in distribution to AZ and NM. In Arizona it is found in much of the southern part of the state and Mohave County. In Mexico it can be found in Chihuahua, Durango and Sonora.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Acourtia thurberi.
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: In North America there are 5 species and 5 accepted taxa overall for Acourtia. World wide, The Plant List includes 84 accepted species names and includes a further 30 of infraspecific rank for the genus.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, New Mexico and Texas each have 3 species of Acourtia, California, Nevada and Utah each have 1 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
Comments: Thurber’s Desertpeony is the largest of 3 Acourtia species found in Arizona. It may reach up to 5 feet in height while Brownfoot, Acourtia wrightii grows up to 4 feet. The smallest of the three, the diminutive Dwarf Desertpeony, Acourtia nana, only grows to 6 or 10 inches high.
In Arizona, Thurber’s Desertpeony may be found in groups of several plants or in small numbers of one or more.
The specific epithet, thurberi is named to honor Dr. George G. Thurber, (1821-1890), American pharmacist, self-taught botanist and avid plant collector. He was hired in 1850 by the U.S. Boundary Commission to survey the boundary between the United States and Mexico.