Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Pectis papposa, Manybristle Cinchweed

Manybristle Cinchweed has showy yellow flowers. The plants have oil glands on the stems, leaves and flower bracts as shown in the photo here. Pectis papposa Manybristle Cinchweed or Cinchweed Fetidmarigold as it is sometimes called blooms from June or July to October or November, or later; responds quickly to summer monsoon rainfall. Pectis papposa Manybristle Cinchweed stems are forked and forked again. These plants prefer elevations below 6,000 feet (1,829 m). Pectis papposa Manybristle Cinchweed stems are forked and forked again. The plants spread out horizontally then becoming upright; rounded; spicy- or lemon-scented. Pectis papposa Manybristle Cinchweed have thread-like leaves with oil-glands that offer a spicy- or lemon-scent. The only grow up to about 1 foot (30 cm) or so. Pectis papposa Manybristle Cinchweed prefers lower and upper dry rocky desert areas, mesas and sandy and gravelly areas. They are common along roadsides. Pectis papposa

Scientific Name: Pectis papposa
Common Name: Manybristle Cinchweed

Also called: Chinchweed, Cinchweed, Cinchweed Fetidmarigold, Common Chinchweed, Desert Cinchweed, Many-bristle Chinchweed, Many-bristle Fetid-marigold; Spanish: Manzanilla del Coyote, Limoncillo

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: ()

Status: Native

Duration: Annual

Size: 1 foot (30 cm) or so.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems smooth, repeated forking, without hairs; plants spreading horizontally then becoming upright; rounded; spicy- or lemon-scented. Leaves: Green; thread-like, curved; leaves with oil-glands; leaves mostly smooth (without hairs); leaves also gland-dotted. leafy plant with small yellow flower heads in bundles at branch ends.

Flower Color: Bright yellow; small heads in clusters of 2 to 4 or more on leafy branch tips; bracts surrounding flowering heads linear and with visible oil-glands; fruit is a cypsela.

Flowering Season: June or July to October or November, or later; responds quickly to summer monsoon rainfall.

Elevation: Below 6,000 feet (1,829 m)

Habitat Preferences: Lower and upper dry desert areas, pinyon-juniper and chaparral communities, open sunny areas, rocky hillsides, mesas, sandy and gravelly areas and common along roadsides.

Recorded Range: A southwest species in the United States native to AZ, CA, NM, NV, TX and UT. The largest populations are found in AZ, CA and NV. This species is also native to Baja California and northwest Mexico. New Mexico has decent populations, Texas has a few and Nevada with the least in the extreme southwest corner.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Pectis papposa.

North America species range map for Manybristle Cinchweed, Pectis papposa:

North America species range map for Manybristle Cinchweed, Pectis papposa: Click image for full size map.
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America there are 19 species and 23 accepted taxa overall for Pectis. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 93 accepted species names and a further 55 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Pectis.

The genus Pectis was published by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778) in 1753. In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 9 species of genus, California and Nevada each have 1 species, New Mexico has 6 species, Texas has 5 species and Utah has 2 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.

There are 2 varieties in Pectis papposa;
Pectis papposa var. grandis (AZ, NM, TX)
Pectis papposa var. papposa (AZ, CA, NM, NV, UT)

Comments: Manybristle Cinchweed, or simply Cinchweed is a common species found in three of the southwestern North American Deserts: the Sonoran, Mojave and Chihuahuan Deserts.

Following periods of good summer monsoon rainfall, Manybristle Cinchweed is a dominate species and may carpet large areas with its bright yellow flowers. In large enough populations and calm days the plants may fill the air with their pleasant spicy or lemony

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Pectis papposa small but brightly colored yellow and their seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of nectar or food.

Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
Pectis papposa small but brightly colored yellow flowers and their plants may be visited by butterflies, moths and other insects in search of food and nectar.

The genus “Pectis” (Pec'tis:) is from the Greek pecteo, “to comb,” the leaves of most species being pectinately ciliate, that is, fringed with hairs on the margin with narrowly close set divisions like the teeth of a comb.

The genus Pectis was published by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778) in 1753.

The species epithet papposa (pappo'sa:) from the Latin for “with pappus.”

Pectis papposa is used for a multitude of purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
  • Havasupai Food, Porridge; Seeds parched, ground and used to make mush.
  • Havasupai Food, Sauce & Relish; Fresh plant dipped in salted water and eaten with mush or cornmeal as a condiment.
  • Havasupai Food, Soup; Seeds parched, ground and used to make soup.
  • Pima Drug, Laxative; Decoction of plant or dried plant taken as a laxative.
  • Pueblo Food, Spice; Used as seasoning.
  • Zuni Drug, Carminative; Infusion of whole plant taken as a carminative.
  • Zuni Drug, Eye Medicine; Infusion of blossoms used as eye drops for snow blindness.
  • Zuni Other, Ceremonial Items, Incense & Fragrance; Chewed blossoms used as perfume before a dance in ceremonies of the secret fraternities. The blossoms were chewed by both sexes, especially by women, ejected into the hands and rubbed on the neck, limbs and clothing as perfume.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 07/05/2012; updated 09/17/2020
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/17/2020)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/17/2020).
    David J. Keil, Flora of North America; Asteraceae, Pectis; 9. Pectis papposa Harvey & A. Gray, Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 62. 1849.; Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editors: S.Buckley, 2010; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; accessed 09/17/2020.
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 09/17/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    Wikipedia contributors, 'Pectis papposa', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 March 2018, 06:09 UTC, [accessed 17 September 2020]
    David J. Keil 2012, Pectis papposa var. papposa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=8032, accessed on September 17, 2020.
    Seiler, John, Peterson, John, North American species range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology: Michael L. Charters, California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - accessed 09/17/2020.