Desert sand verbena is a glandular-pubescent
much-branched annual with stems either prostrate or ascending and somewhat
sticky. The opposite leaves are ovate to round and unequal at
the base on petioles about an inch long. The pinkish rose flowers
are clustered in a compact head subtended by bracts which are lanceolate
to narrowly ovate, viscid and scarious. The calyx is corolla-like,
5-lobed and salverform, pale to bright magenta, with sepals substituting
for the petals. The fruits are prominently wrinkled, appearing
almost pitted, with wings that are either absent or barely exceed the
fruit body. Desert sand verbena commonly grows in open sandy places
to 3000' in creosote bush scrub in both deserts, blooming from February
to July. The first picture was taken in Anza-Borrego State Park,
and the second and third in the Mecca Hills. The fourth picture shows
a white form that I saw on a field trip in the East Mojave Preserve.
There is another variant, aurita, that is superficially very
similar, from the Coachella Valley and Santa Rosa Mts areas.
Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Abronia
Pronunciation: ab-ROE-nee-a vil-OH-sa.
Click here for Botanical