Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Boerhavia coccinea, Scarlet Spiderling

Boerhavia coccinea, Scarlet SpiderlingBoerhavia coccinea, Scarlet SpiderlingBoerhavia coccinea, Scarlet SpiderlingBoerhavia coccinea, Scarlet SpiderlingBoerhavia coccinea, Scarlet Spiderling

Scientific Name: Boerhavia coccinea
Common Name: Scarlet Spiderling
Also Called: Red Spiderling, (Spanish: Hierba del Cancer, Hierba de la Hormiga, Juaninipili, Mochi)
Family: Nyctaginaceae, Four O’clock Family
Synonyms: (Boerhavia caribaea, Boerhavia grahamii, Boerhavia sarmentosa, Commicarpus scandens)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 3 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; often woody at the base, stems prostrate or sprawling, multiple branches throughout.
Leaves: Green; leaves variable in size and shape, broadly ovate or lanceolate, basal leaves much larger, outer leaves smaller, large leaves with petioles, leaf margins wavy (sinuate).
Flower Color: Red-violet, magenta, maroon or pink; flowers a "head" in clusters up to 5, flowers terminal or from leaf axils, flowering stems without sticky bands, fruit hairy with rounded tips, smooth between the ribs.
Flowering Season: April to November or year-round in Arizona, California and Texas.

Elevation: Up to 7,000 feet but usually lower, below 3,000 feet in California.

Habitat Preferences: Common along roadsides, disturbed areas and in fields, upper beaches in California.

Recorded Range: Scarlet Spiderling is found primarily in the southern United States in; AZ, CA, FL, MD, NC, NM, TX, VA and also HI. It is also native to Mexico, Central America, South America and the West Indies and is found in Australia.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Boerhavia coccinea.

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: 21 species in Boerhavia in the southern half of the United States. 12 species in Arizona and Texas, 6 species in California, 11 species in New Mexico. This species is often referred to as Commicarpus scandens by some authorities.

The Plant List includes 243 scientific plant names of species rank for the genus Boerhavia. Of these 105 are accepted species names.

Comments: As with many members of Boerhavia, Scarlet Spiderling has a sticky viscid herbage but not throughout the plant.

Also see in Southwest Desert Flora Coulter's Spiderling, Boerhavia coulteri, Fivewing Spiderling, Boerhavia intermedia, Climbing Wartclub, Boerhavia scandens and Largebract Spiderling, Boerhavia wrightii.

Date Profile Completed: 12/07/2015, updated format 09/28/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
Richard W. Spellenberg, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Nyctaginaceae | Boerhavia, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 12/06/2015).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 12/05/2015]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 12/07/2015),5215,5216
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, recorded geographic locations and general information