Acourtia wrightii, Brownfoot
Scientific Name: Acourtia wrightii
Common Name: Brownfoot
Also Called: Pink Perezia and Wright’s Desertpeony
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Perezia wrightii, Perezia arizonica)
Size: Up to 4 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect, multiple stems, leaves turn brown at base or "foot" of plant.
Leaves: Green; alternate, variable, ovate, some oblong lanceolate, 1 to 5 inches long, simple, sessile, clasping, margins wavy, dentateor dentate, spine tipped.
Flower Color: Variable, pink, purple, lavender or white; showy heads about ¾ inch, 8 to 12 flower clusters on tips of stems; bracts or phyllaries subtending flower heads linear or lanceolate; fragrant; fruit an achene with fluffy white array of bristles or pappus.
Flowering Season: January to June.
Elevation: Up to 6,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Upper and lower desert, foothills, rocky hillsides and canyons.
Recorded Range: In the southwest United States in NM, NV, TX and UT and in northern and central Mexico. Throughout most of Arizona.
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.
Comments: The common name, Brownfoot is because of the brown color of leaves and dense hairs at the foot of the plant. Although native in both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, Brownfoot is a more eastern distributed Chihuahuan Desert species.
The very similar looking Thurber Desert Holly, Acourtia thurberi, differs from Brownfoot with having only 3 to 6 flowers per head, while Brownfoot has 8 or more. A third Acourtia species native to Arizona, the smallest of the three, Dwarf Desertpeony, Acourtia nana, grows to 6 or 10 inches high.
Several ethno-botanical uses have been identified for Brownfoot including its use as a postpartum medicine, a styptic and as a poultice. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.