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Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)
Annual Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)

General: Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima) is a low, rounded, blue-gray annual forb with velvet-covered, crinkled leaves. The rayless flowers are yellow. the shape of the plant resembles the back of a tortoise, hence the name.

Velvet Turtleback is a common component of desert vegetation communities on sandy, gravely, silty, and alkaline soils, especially in disturbed areas such as roadsides in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones. Around Las Vegas, look for this species at Lake Mead NRA, Mojave National Preserve, and especially along roads in Death Valley National Park.

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae).

Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)

Other Names: Brittlestem, Turtleback.

Plant Form: Low, mounded annual; densely branched with dense leaves.

Height: Usually about 6 inches.

Stems: Highly branched; hairy when young, but lose hairs with age; brittle.

Leaves: Alternate, velvety; blade broadly oval with notched edges. Leaf veins prominent.

Flowers: Inflorescence: discoid (rayless) heads, arising from leaf axils. Flowers many per bundle, tubular, yellow.

Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)

Seeds: Achene.

Habitat: Variety of desert soils, especially disturbed areas such are roadsides.

Elevation: About sea level to 3,000 ft.

Distribution: California, southern Nevada, Arizona, and southward into northwestern Mexico.


Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima) Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)
Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima) Velvet Turtleback (Psathyrotes ramosissima)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141117

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