Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Acanthaceae, Acanthus Family

Acanthaceae or Acanthus Family is a small family of tropical and subtropical herbs, shrubs or vines primarily originating from Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa, Brazil, and Central America. Arizona and other southwestern states represent the northern most reaches of several species in North America. Although a rare plant in the United States, Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle is common in Arizona. Habitat preferences are extremely variable. Typical of tropical plants Acanthus flowers are often showy, many with characteristic bracts surrounding each flower. Many species have two-lipped tubular corollas are a good source of nectar for hummingbirds. The fruits are capsules that split at maturity expelling and dispersing seeds.

Acanthaceae contains approximately 225 genera and about 2900 species.

Arizona is home to 13 species.

The Plant List. A working list of all known plant species. [accessed 15 February 2015]
Wikipedia contributors, 'Acanthaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 1 February 2015, 14:42 UTC,
[accessed 15 February 2015]
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search