Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, Spreading Snakeherb

Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, Spreading Snakeherb, Southwest Desert Flora Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, Spreading Snakeherb, Southwest Desert Flora Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, Spreading Snakeherb, Southwest Desert Flora Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, Spreading Snakeherb, Southwest Desert Flora

Scientific Name: Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens
Common Name: Spreading Snakeherb
Also Called: Dyschoriste, Spanish (Hierba de Vibradora)
Family: Acanthaceae, Acanthus Family
Synonyms: (Calophanes decumbens, Dyschoriste decumbens, Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: 6 to 8 inches.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; woody stems, stems course, square, sprawling along ground, ends of branches curving upward (decumbent).
Leaves: Green, dark green; course, sessile along stems in clusters, about 1.5 inches long, oblanceolate.
Flower Color: Purple, violet or lavender; corollas appeared tubed actually bilabiate, flowers small less than 3 cm; single flowers along stem axillary or in small clusters, sessile or nearly so; stamens exserted; fruit is a flattened capsule that ejects seed when mature.
Flowering Season: April to October, in Texas Spreading Snakeherb blooms May to August.
Elevation: 4,000 to 5,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Plains, mesas and foothills, open areas or in oaks and junipers. In Texas it is found in upland grasslands on the eastern side of Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range and also within mountains of the Big Bend region.

Recorded Range: Rare in the United States, Dyschoriste schiedeana is native only to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In Arizona, Spreading Snakeherb is found in the south and southeast parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens.

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: 6 species in Dyschoriste in the United States. All species native to southern border states or southeast border states, no records in California.

2 varieties in Dyschoriste schiedeana :
Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens (AZ, NM, TX)
Dyschoriste schiedeana var. cinerascens, Schied's Snakeherb (west central Texas).

Comments: Spreading Snakeherb is native to Arizona and found in the southern and southeastern parts of the state. The photos above were taken south of Canelo, Arizona in Santa Cruz County. This species is a member of the Acanthus family, a tropical and subtropical family of herbs shrubs or vines.

The populations in the United States represent the northern most reaches of this species in North America. In Arizona Spreading Snakeherb is found within a very narrow range of elevation preference between 4,000 and 5,500 feet and their habitat preferences appear limited to portions of Pima, Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Thurber’s Desert Honeysuckle, Anisacanthus thurberi; Heath Wrightwort, Carlowrightia linearifolia; Arizona Foldwing, Dicliptera resupinata; and Chuparosa, Justicia californica.

Date Profile Completed: 11/2/2014, rev. 07/18/2015, 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, as Dyschoriste decumbens.
National Park Service, The Flora Project, Desert Research Learning Center, Botany Program, Dyschoriste schiedeana var. decumbens, information accessed 11/2/2014 via SEINet.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 11/2/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
The University of Texas at El Paso, Centennial Museum,, (accessed 11/2/2014).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Acanthaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 October 2014, 00:02 UTC, [accessed 31 October 2014]
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,