Wildflowers of Southern Arizona
Rose (Rosaceae) family.
Duration: Perennial. Nativity: Native. Lifeform: Tree. General: Large shrubs to small trees with evergreen leaves, to 6 m tall, with dark gray nearly smooth bark. Leaves: Alternate, short-petiolate, firm and leathery; lanceolate with serrate margins, the teeth gland-tipped and often with glands between the teeth; leaves mostly pointing upwards, dark green on the upper surface, lighter in color underneath, to 10 cm long, 1-2 cm wide; petioles to 2 cm long. Flowers: White flowers in terminal cymose panicles; hypanthium tomentose, 2 mm deep and slightly wider; calyx lobes ovate, 1 mm long; petals white, oblong to obovate, 3-4 mm long, spreading to reflexed; stamens numerous; pistils 5, connate at base. Fruits: Subwoody capsules that split into 5 follicles; each follicle 4 mm long, opening along 1 suture, and containing 2 winged seeds. Ecology: Found on gravelly or limestone soils in canyons and oak woodlands, from 2,500-5,000 ft (762-1524 m); flowers May-July. Distribution: s AZ into Sonora and Baja California Notes: The leathery upwards-pointing evergreen leaves with finely serrate margins are a good indicator for this species. It superficially resembles seepwillow, (Baccharis salicifolia) with its shrubby growth form, terminal cymes of white flowers, lanceolate leaves, and preference of canyon habitat. However, B. salicifolia only grows in very moist riparian habitats, and like many species in the sunflower family, its seeds are accompanied by short tufts hairs, similar to dandelions. V. californica often grows on rocky hillsides, and the seeds are produced within woody capsules. Ethnobotany: Wood and bark were used for dying goatskins yellow; it is also a modern cultivated ornamental in Arizona. Etymology: Vauquelinia is named for Louis Nicolas Vauquelin, a 19th century French chemist and botanist; californica means of or from California.
Santa Catalina Mountains
Location: At edge of pullout below Molino Canyon Vista.
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