Flower Color: White, pink, lavender pink or flesh colored; flora heads are solitary on branches; the heads are about .75 inch (2 cm) wide; note that the florets are 5-lobed or strap-shaped (ligulate); there are an extra set of bracts (calyculus) surrounding the heads looking slightly like a calyx; the pappus is a tan-brown tuft of 15 to 20 bristles which have fine hairs like a feather plume (plumose) on the (distal) top 80% (rarely white as shown in the photo above); fruit a tan cypsela.
Flowering Season: April or May to September, October, or throughout the year.
Elevation: Sea Level to 5,000 feet (1,500 m).
Habitat Preferences: Dry plains, washes, arid mesas and slopes, sandy areas, open sandy short-grass plains, gravelly washes and gravelly bajadas; desert shrub communities, juniper woodlands.
Recorded Range: Brownplume Wirelettuce is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, CO, KS, NM, NV, OK, TX, UT, WY and south to southern Mexico.
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.
Genus Information: In North America there are 17 species for Stephanomeria. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 18 accepted species names and a further 29 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Stephanomeria.
The genus Stephanomeria was published by Thomas Nuttall, (1786-1859) in 1841.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 6 species of Stephanomeria, California has 11 species, Nevada has 7 species, New Mexico and Utah each have 5 species and Texas has 4 species. All data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments: Brownplume Wirelettuce is one of several members of the genus Stephanomeria that share similar characteristics and are often difficult to distinguish from one another. You get a good idea just how variable this species is when you note the synonyms and common names.
Brownplume Wirelettuce is similar to Narrowleaf Wirelettuce, Stephanomeria tenuifolia which is less woody at the base, has glands on the flowering stalk (peduncle) and the seeds have a pappus of white feathery-like bristles from top to bottom.
Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Brownplume Wirelettuce is important to and attracts large numbers of Native bees.
For excellent information on invertebrate conservation visit The Xerces Society.
The genus Stephanomeria is from the Greek word "stephane" meaning "wreath or crown" and "meros" meaning "division"; the references are a reference to the pappus on the cypselafruit. The genus Stephanomeria was published by Thomas Nuttall, (1786-1859) in 1841.
The species epithet "pauciflora" refers to the Latin term for 'few flowered'.
Stephanomeria pauciflora is used for a multitude of personal purposes by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
Hopi Drug, Gynecological Aid, Root used in various ways to increase mother's milk supply.
Kawaiisu Food, Candy, Thick liquid used as chewing gum.
Navajo, Kayenta Drug, Narcotic, Roots used as a narcotic.
Navajo, Kayenta Food, Candy, Used as chewing gum.
Navajo, Kayenta Other, Ceremonial Items, Used as a paint ingredient for chant arrows used in various ceremonies.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Gynecological Aid, Strong infusion of root used to hasten delivery of placenta.
Navajo, Ramah Drug, Panacea, Root used as a 'life medicine.'
Navajo, Ramah Food, Candy, Root used for chewing gum.
See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.