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Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
 
Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)

General: During most of the year, Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta) is a many-branched shrub that forms a low mound of short, thin branches. During the growing season, the plant puts on short, narrow leaves and purple flowers.

Littleleaf Ratany is a fairly common component of vegetation associations in washes and on rocky bajadas in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone. This is the only species of Ratany that grows in Red Rock Canyon NCA and the Spring Mountains. Littleleaf Ratany, and another species, White Ratany, occur together in the northern Lake Mead Region (e.g., Valley of Fire and northeastward).

Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)

Family: Ratany (Krameriaceae).

Other Names: krameria, ratany, pima ratany, purple heather, range ratany.

Plant Form: Prostrate, somewhat spreading, many-branched shrub.

Height: Usually shin-high, but sometimes grows to about 2 feet.

Bark:

Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)

Stems: Branches often ascending, tips blunt; covered in tiny hairs.

Leaves: Small, narrow (simple, alternate, sessile; linear, hairy, tip pointed).

Flowers: Blooms in the spring, also sporadically throughout the summer and fall in response to rain. Flowers solitary. Petals tiny; sepals larger, cupped, pink, 4-5 (appearing to be petals).

Fruit: Heart-shaped (sometimes spherical) bur covered with straight spines. Spines are unbarbed, or if barbs are present, they occur all along the spine -- not just at the tip. One seed inside.

Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)
Fruit

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas, moderate slopes, and rocky ridges in the lower mountains.

Elevation: Up to about 4,000 feet.

Distribution: Southwestern US. Southern California to Texas, south into northern Mexico.

Comments:

Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta) Littleleaf Ratany (Krameria erecta)

 
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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 101106

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