Psathyrotes ramosissima, Velvet Turtleback
Scientific Name: Psathyrotes ramosissima
Common Name: Velvet Turtleback
Also Called: Desert Velvet, Turtleback, Velvet Cushion
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonym (Tetradymia ramosissima)
Duration: Annual or perennial.
Size: Up to 1 foot or so; larger, up to 15 inches or so in California.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; plants low, compact, rounded; plants gray, dense (subshrub in CA), much branched, hairy and scaly; odor turpentine-like.
Leaves: Green; alternate; long-petioles; hairy; velvety; rounded-deltate to plus or minus rounded; margins toothed.
Flower Color: Yellow, pale yellow; flowers tiny, disk florets only; short peduncle about 1 inch or so; phyllaries recurved.
Flowering Season: March to June or throughout the year.
Elevation: Up to 1,500 feet; up to 3,500 feet in California.
Habitat Preferences: Plains and mesas in gravelly or sandy soil, sandy creosote-bush communities.
Recorded Range: Velvet Turtleback is relatively rare in the United States where it is limited in distribution to the southwestern states of AZ, CA, NV, UT. It is also native to Baja California and extreme northwestern Mexico.
North America & US County Distribution Map for Psathyrotes ramosissima.
U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, Nevada and Utah each have 3 species of genus, California has 2 species, New Mexico and Texas each have 1 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.
Comments: The common names "Velvet Turtleback" and "Turtleback" have to do with the appearance of the plants that somewhat resembles that of a turtles back.
Psathyrotes ramosissima has been used for a variety of purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.