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Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant (Pholisma arenarium)
Perennial Forbs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium)

General: Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant (Pholisma arenarium), also called Desert Christmas Tree, is a mounded, perennial forb that grows from a fleshy, underground stem. The above-ground parts usually grow to about 6-inches tall, but can get to about 20 inches. Flowers purple with a white margin.

Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant is an uncommon component of sandy-soil vegetation communities in in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones of southern California.

Around Las Vegas, look for Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant in the western Mojave Desert near the California towns of Victorville and Kramer Junction.

Family: Lennoa (Lennoaceae).

Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium)

Other Names: Scaly-stemmed Sand Plant, Pholisma depressum, Pholisma paniculatum.

Plant Form: Mound.

Height: To about 6 inches.

Stems: Unbranched, mounded, rigid; about 1-inch in diameter (without flowers).

Leaves: To about 1 inch, linear or triangular; glandular.

Flowers: Blooms in spring to early summer. Inflorescence: spike. Flowers trumpet shaped, purple, with a white margin.

Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium)

Fruit: Capsule.

Habitat: Sandy soils in coastal dunes and deserts.

Elevation: To about 6,000 feet.

Distribution: Southern California deserts, western-most Arizona, northwest New Mexico.


Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium) Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium)
Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium) Desert Christmas Tree (Pholisma arenarium)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 141118

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