Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia, Pebble Pincushion
Scientific Name: Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia
Common Name: Pebble Pincushion
Also Called: Pincushion Flower, Straw-bed Pincushion
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Chaenactis carphoclinia var. attenuata)
Size: Up to 1 foot or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect branching stem, usually with 1 main stem; whitish pubescent.
Leaves: Green; basal and cauline leaves, the basal leaves soon wither while the cauline leaves are divided into a few lobes; leaves are mostly linear, small, about 4 inches with a slender petiole.
Flower Color: White or pinkish-tinted; one to several flower heads borne on tips on the inflorescence, several per stem, heads are small, between ¼ and ½ inch; flowers discoid with enlarged outer corolla; the heads are bracketed by flat sharp-pointed phyllaries somewhat reddish; anthers exserted beyond the corolla are noticeable; fruit is an achene a few millimeters in length.
Flowering Season: January, February or March through May or June.
Elevation: 500 to 6,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Shrub-lands in upper desert; open plains, mesas, slopes, flats; rocky or gravelly areas.
Recorded Range: Chaenactis carphoclinia is found in southwest North America in the states of AZ, CA, NM, NV and UT. Pebble Pincushion is also found in Baja California and Sonora Mexico.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia.
U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: * Chaenactis carphoclinia var. peirsonii, Peirson’s Pincushion; Is included in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants on list 1B.3 (rare, threatened, or endangered in CA and elsewhere). Also in California this variety has a State Rank of S2, Imperiled.
Genus Information: In North America there are 17 species and 17 accepted taxa overall for Chaenactis World wide, The Plant List includes 19 accepted species names and includes a further 55 of infraspecific rank for the genus. Members of the genus Chaenactis are commonly referred to as pincushions or dustymaidens
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 6 species of Chaenactis, California has 13 species, Nevada has 8 species, New Mexico has 3 species, Texas has 5species, Utah has 0 species.
There are 2 varieties in Chaenactis carphoclinia;
Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia, Pebble Pincushion (see range above);
* Chaenactis carphoclinia var. peirsonii, Peirson’s Pincushion (CA).
Comments: Pebble Pincushion is similar in appearance to Esteve’s Pincushion, for which it is often mistaken, but in general is a much smaller plant with multiple flower heads; and the flowers are more cream colored and not as white as Esteve’s Pincushion.
This species is mostly a Mojave Desert species given its distribution along the western part of Arizona and heavily represented in southeast Nevada and California.
Importance to Wildlife: In Clark County, Nevada, (Arden Study Area 1976) Pebble Pincushion has been identified as an important food source the southwestern Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii).
Also see in Southwest Desert Flora Esteve’s Pincushion, Chaenactis stevioides.
The species epithet carphoclinia is derived from the Greek root word "carpho", straw, twig, dry stock, and "Karphos" to wither, wrinkle, dry and from the Greek word "Kline" or bed.