Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Carlowrightia linearifolia, Heath Wrightwort

Carlowrightia linearifolia, Heath Wrightwort, Southwest Desert Flora Carlowrightia linearifolia, Heath Wrightwort, Southwest Desert Flora Carlowrightia linearifolia, Heath Wrightwort, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Carlowrightia linearifolia
Common Name: Heath Wrightwort
Also Called:
Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus Family
Synonyms: (Schaueria linearifolia)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 3 feet
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub, rangy with densely branching, branches slender.
Leaves: Leaves green; opposite, simply, very slender, narrow or lanceolate, covered with minute soft erect hairs, possibly deciduous.
Flower Color: Purple, light purple with dark purple streaks throughout; bilabiate; note extended stamens with bright yellow anthers; fruit is a flattened capsule which ejects the seed at maturity.
Flowering Season: August and September; blooms May to October in Texas.
Elevation: 2,500 to 3,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Mesas and washes, appears to prefer alluvial sandy soils and sunny areas.

Recorded Range: Rare in the United States where it is found only in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In Arizona it is found in the southeast while in New Mexico it has the largest area of distribution in much of the southwest corner of the state. In Texas it is found in the extreme western counties.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Carlowrightia linearifolia.

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: 8 species in Carlowrightia limited in distribution to CA, AZ, NM and TX, with most species native to TX only. 2 species in Carlowrightia in Arizona including; Arizona Wrightwort, Carlowrightia arizonica which is found in the southern half and northwest corner of the state, a much broader distribution than Carlowrightia linearifolia.

Comments: Heath Wrightwort in native to Arizona where it grows in the southeastern part of the state. The photos above were taken near San Manuel, Pinal County, Arizona. Populations in Arizona are found within a very narrow range of elevation preference between 2,500 and 3,000 feet while their habitat preferences appear limited to portions of Pinal, Cochise and Pima Counties.

The genus was named for the American botanist Charles Wright.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle, Anisacanthus thurberi; Arizona Foldwing, Dicliptera resupinata; Spreading Snakeherb, Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens; and Chuparosa, Justicia californica.

Date Profile Completed: 10/31/2014, 07/19/2015, updated 01/21/2016, updated format 10/06/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database – ITIS search
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 11/1/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.; General information (accessed: 11/01/2014);
Vascular Plants of the Gila Wilderness, Presented in Association with the Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences; for Carlowrightia linearifolia.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Carlowrightia', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 July 2014, 22:18 UTC,> [accessed 1 November 2014]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names, descriptions and recorded geographic locations,