Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Tidestromia lanuginosa, Woolly Tidestromia

Tidestromia lanuginosa, Woolly Tidestromia, Southwest Desert Flora Tidestromia lanuginose Note the reddish-purple stems, a result of the Amaranths containing betalain pigments. Woolly Tidestromia Tidestromia lanuginose Note the reddish-purple stems, a result of the Amaranths containing betalain pigments. Woolly Tidestromia

Scientific Name: Tidestromia lanuginosa
Common Name: Woolly Tidestromia
Also Called: Honeysweet, Honeymat, Wooly Tidestromia (Spanish: Hierba Lanuda, Hierba Ceniza, Espanta Vaqueras)
Family: Amaranthaceae, Pigweed Family
Synonyms: (Achyranthes lanuginosa, Cladothrix lanuginosa)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: Up to 2 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, prostrate in low growing mats and or erect, branched, stems covered with dense white wool-like hairs (tricomes), stems low-growing or ascending.
Leaves: Green, gray-green or whitish-gray, opposite, somewhat fleshy, covered in soft short hairs (tomentose) or dense whitish wool (canescent) obovate, ovate or lanceolate.
Flower Color: Yellow, yellowish-green, very small flowers, flower petals absent, sepals (perianth) in clusters of 1 to 3, seeds are brown or brownish-red.
Flowering Season: June to October, blooms earlier and later in Texas.
Elevation: Below 5,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Sandy open soils.

Recorded Range: In the United States Woolly Tidestromia is found in all of the southwestern states and in; OK, KS, LA, MO, SD, IL and PA. It also is native to northern and central Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Tidestromia lanuginosa.

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: 5 species in Tidestromia in the United States and northern Mexico. 2 species in Arizona.

Comments: Woolly Tidestromia is a interesting looking, very distinctive low growing plant whose leaves are covered in soft dense whitish matted hairs. It is wide-spread and common in sandy soils below 5,500 feet in elevation.

You may note in some of the photos above, Tidestromia lanuginosa has reddish-purple stems which are due to the presence of betalain pigments. This, according to personal communication with Bryan Hanson, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry (emeritus) at DePauw University, betalain pigments are not uncommon in the Caryophyllales which include Amaranthaceae.

Date Profile Completed: 11/18/2014, 07/19/2015, updated 10/01/2021
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
Ivonne Sánchez del Pino & Steven E. Clemants, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Amaranthaceae | Tidestromia, FNA Vol. 4 Page 442, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 11/18/2014).
Hanson, Bryan, personal communication; Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN 46135 USA
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 10/31/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: ttp:// (accessed 11/18/2014)
SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,