Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Thelesperma megapotamicum, Hopi Tea Greenthread

Thelesperma megapotamicum, Hopi Tea Greenthread, Southwest Desert Flora Thelesperma megapotamicum, Hopi Tea Greenthread, Southwest Desert Flora Thelesperma megapotamicum, Hopi Tea Greenthread, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Thelesperma megapotamicum
Common Name: Hopi Tea Greenthread
Also Called: Green Thread, Green Threads, Hopitea Greenthread
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Bidens megapotamica, Thelesperma gracile)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 2.5 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; erect branching, slender brittle stems glabrous and glaucous.
Leaves: Light green; opposite, margins pinnately divided into linear lobes.
Flower Color: Yellow; flowers on tips of branching stems; usually disk flowers only; bracts or phyllaries subtending flower head purplish with yellow or white margins; fruit an achene.
Flowering Season: May to October.
Elevation: 4,000 to 7,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Higher elevations, mountains, various vegetative communities, disturbed areas

Recorded Range: Hopi Tea Greenthread is widespread, found throughout much of the western two-thirds of the United States in AR, AZ, CA, CO, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NM, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT and WY. It is also native to northern Mexico. In Arizona, it can be found in higher elevations in the northern and southern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Thelesperma megapotamicum.

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.

Genus Information: 12 species in Thelesperma found in the western two-thirds of the United States. 4 species found in Arizona. The genus Thelesperma is closely related to Coreopsis and Bidens.

Comments: The common name "Greenthread" of plants from this genus is because of the linear, threadlike appearance of the slender green stems and flowering stalks.

The photo above was taken June 17, Monument Valley, Navajo County, Arizona. Hopi Tea is closely related to Navajo Tea, Thelesperma subnudum, also found in northern Arizona.

Several uses have been identified for Hopi Tea Greenthread including its use as a tea, a stimulant and it was used to coffee. See the complete species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

Date Profile Completed: 10/24/2012; Updated, 07/26/2015, updated format 10/11/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
The Jepson Manual, Citation: Wed Oct 24 17:38:45 2012
John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Thelesperma, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 10/24/2012)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,