Wildflowers of Southern Arizona
Prickly Russian Thistle.
Amaranth (Amaranthaceae) family.
The flowers are tiny, petal-less, and found singly in the upper leaf axils. As the fruit develops, the flower sepals enlarge, thicken, and become cream, pale green, pink, or red membranous wings. The leaves are blue-green, narrowly linear to threadlike, alternate, and become stiff and spine-tipped in mature plants. The stems are often lined with red. The plants are well-branched and grow into large, dense, mounds. When dry and tan-colored, the plants will break off at the base and tumble away in the wind, scattering seeds as they go.
Santa Catalina Mountains.
Location: Prison Camp.
Notes: Frank Rose says flower looks like a ballet tutu.
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