Abronia villosa S. Watson var. villosa

Desert Sand Verbena
Nyctaginaceae (Four O'Clock Family)


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 2) villosa.
Pronunciation: ab-ROE-nee-a vil-OH-sa.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.