Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Colubrina californica, Las Animas Nakedwood

Las Animas Nakedwood has inconspicuous flowers that may appear greenish, yellowish or whitish. Flowers produce a 3 celled drupe-like fruit, a capsule that may be persistent and drop in 3 to 6 months or more. Colubrina californica Las Animas Nakedwood flowers are in panicles from axils, flowers may be solitary in small fascicles of 3 to 12 flowers. This species blooms from April to August in its small range within the southwestern United States. Colubrina californica Las Animas Nakedwood has spreading or upright stems with fine white hairs (tomentose) which may fall off with age. Leaves are dull-green to yellowish-green, deciduous, alternate and oblong or fascicled to obovate. Leaves have a silky pubescence and margins may have 1 or 2 teeth. Colubrina californica Las Animas Nakedwood may grow up to 10 feet tall but is usually much shorter. Plants have multiple stems that are weakly armed or not, the stems may be erect or widely spreading. Plants grow at elevations from 1,500 to 3,000 feet and prefer dry desert scrub, slopes and along washes. Plants are relatively rare in North America. Colubrina californica

Scientific Name: Colubrina californica
Common Name: Las Animas Nakedwood
Also Called: California Colubrina, California Snakebush
Family: Rhamnaceae or Buckthorn Family
Synonyms: ()
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 10 feet tall but usually much smaller.
Growth Form: Shrub; multiple stems mostly erect to widely spreading; bark reddish-brown, gray to whitish (tomentose) and becoming less so with age; stems weakly armed or not.
Leaves: Green, dull-green to yellowish green; deciduous; alternate; oblong or fascicled; to obovate; silky pubescence; margins entire or with 1 or 2 teeth.
Flower Color: Green; light green, whitish or yellowish; flowers in panicles from axils, solitary or in small fascicles of 3 to 12; flowers inconspicuous; fruit a 3-celled drupe-like capsule, persistent or may drop in 3 to 6 months or so, dark purple to black.
Flowering Season: June to August; April to May in California; flowers again in summer after sufficient rainfall.
Elevation: 1,500 to 3,000 feet; 800 to 3,000 feet in California.

Habitat Preferences: Dry scrub, slopes and along washes.

Recorded Range: Las Animas Nakedwood is relatively rare plant in the southwestern United States where its distribution is limited to southwest Arizona, far southern California and far southeast Nevada. It is also native to Baja California and Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Colubrina californica.

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 11 species and 11 accepted taxa overall for Colubrina. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 34 accepted species names and a further 49 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, California and Nevada each have 1 species of Colubrina, New Mexico and Utah have 0 species and Texas has 3 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Las Animas Nakedwood is an interesting species in the Sonoran Desert. It is a rare plant in Arizona with a few scattered locations (Michael J. Plagens 2017). These plants are considered to be "relicts of interest because they they occur in widely separated areas" (Benson and Darrow, 1954).

Date Profile Completed: 05/25/2017, updated format 10/02/2017
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 05/25/2017)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 05/25/2017).
Kyle Christie, Michael Currie, Laura Smith Davis, Mar-Elise Hill, Suzanne Neal, and Tina Ayers, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Anacardiaceae. CANOTIA 2(1): 23-46.
John O. Sawyer, Jr. 2017. Colubrina californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 25, 2017.
Michael J. Plagens,; Arizonensis; Sonoran Desert Naturalist - (accessed 05/25/2017).
Benson, L.B. and R.A. Darrow, 1954. The Trees and Shrubs of the Southwestern Deserts.; University of Arizona Press, Tucson, p 437.
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information - (accessed 05/25/2017).