Zinnia acerosa, Desert Zinnia
Scientific Name: Zinnia acerosa
Common Name: Desert Zinnia
Also Called: Shrubby Zinnia, Spinyleaf Zinnia and Wild Zinnia (Spanish: Zinia, Hierba del Burro)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Zinnia pumila)
Size: About 10 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; woody base, low mounding.
Leaves: Green; opposite; stiff linear to needle shaped (acerate); margins entire.
Flower Color: White, off white, or pale yellow; radiate 1 inch flower heads; ray flowers 4 to 7, disk flowers 8 or more mostly yellow, some tinged in purple; numerous flower heads on 1.5 inch stalks (peduncles); fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: April to October following monsoon rainfall.
Elevation: 2,500 to 5,000 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Dry rocky slopes, mesas, caliche soils.
Recorded Range: In the United States, Desert Zinnia is limited in distribution to central and southern Arizona with much smaller isolated populations in NM, TX and UT. It is also found in northern Mexico.
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: Desert Zinnia has the heart of its United States population in Arizona. Its flowers readily attract insects especially butterflies. Desert Zinnia differs from the similar Rocky Mountain Zinnia, Zinna multiflora, which has bright yellow flowers. As with other Zinnia’s, Desert Zinnia is a popular arid landscape plant in Arizona and the southwest.
A paste made from the crushed plant was used for swellings or aches. See species account from Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.