Palafoxia arida var. gigantea, Giant Spanish Needles
Scientific Name: Palafoxia arida var. gigantea
Common Name: Giant Spanish Needle
Also Called: Desert Palafox, Dune Spanish Needle
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Palafoxia linearis)
Size: Up to 2 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; multiple stems erect; branching in lower areas, stems slender, smooth or rough to the touch.
Leaves: Green; opposite below, alternate above; linear or linear lanceolate.
Flower Color: Pink; flower heads with disk flowers only (discoid); flower heads numerous; fruit is an achene, seeds windborne.
Flowering Season: February to November.
Elevation: Below 2,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Sandy plains and mesas.
Recorded Range: In the United States, Giant Spanish Needles is rare, found only in AZ and CA. It is also found in northern Mexico. In Arizona, it is recorded in Yuma County although the specimen in the photo was observed in eastern Maricopa County near Rio Verde.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Palafoxia arida var. gigantea.
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: Giant Spanish Needles with a preference for sandy soils, was first described in Yuma County. Giant Spanish Needles remains under taxonomic review and some sources treat this species as Palafoxia linearis or a variety thereof.