Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia, Pebble Pincushion

Pebble Pincushion is snowy white flowers that are often pink tinged. The flower heads are borne on branch tips. The flowers bloom from January, February or March through May or June. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia Pebble Pincushion has attractive flowers in spring and summer when plants are in full bloom. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia Pebble Pincushion is a native annual that grows up to a foot or so in height. A closely related variety, Peirson’s Pincushion is included in the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia Pebble Pincushion, Pincushion Flower or Straw-bed Pincushion usually has 1 main stem covered with whitish pubescent. The green leaves are both basal and cauline and the basal leaves usually wither away while the cauline leaves are divided into a few lobes; mostly linear, small, about 4 inches with a slender petiole. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia Pebble Pincushion is found in elevations from 500 to 6,000 feet and found in shrub-lands in upper desert; open plains, mesas, slopes, flats; rocky or gravelly areas. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia

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)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
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.

Etymology:
The genus Chaenactis is from the Greek words or root words "chaino" meaning "to gape" and also from "aktis" meaning "a ray"; thus the reference is to the enlarged outer corolla so common in the genus.

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.
Date Profile Completed: 8/9/2014; Updated, 07/25/2015,, updated 10/16/2017
References:
Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Chaenactis carphoclinia.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 10/16/2017)
https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=display&classid=CHAEN
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 10/16/2017).
http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Compositae/Chaenactis/
James D. Morefield 2017. Chaenactis carphoclinia var. carphoclinia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,
http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=6935, accessed on October 16, 2017.
James D. Morefield, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Chaenactis, 2a. Chaenactis carphoclinia A. Gray var. carphoclinia; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
Michael L. Charters; California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology; (accessed 10/16/2017)
http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageCA-CH.html
Norma J. Engberg, Suzanne Allan, Ralph L. Young; The Desert Tortoise Council; Proceeding of the 1976 Symposium; A compilation of reports and papers presented at the first annual symposium of the Desert Tortoise Council, March 23-24, 1976. Chaenactis carphoclinia."
http://www.deserttortoise.org/ocr_DTCdocs/1976DTCProceedings-OCR.pdf
Wikipedia contributors. "Chaenactis." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Apr. 2017. Web. 16 Oct. 2017
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information, (accessed 10/16/2017).
http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/