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Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)
Shrubs Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)

General: Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis) is an upright, spiny shrub growing 3-4 feet tall with often leafless, bright white stems. During spring and early summer, the seedheads produce many hairs that look like cotton or cotton balls stuck onto the twigs.

Mojave Cottonthorn is a fairly common component of shrub communities on well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes into the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone.

Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae).

Other Names: Cotton-thorn, Horsebrush, Tetradymia

Plant Form: Upright, drought deciduous shrub.

Height: To about 4 feet.

Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)
Cottony thorns

Bark: Silvery white (bright white).

Stems: Unevenly covered with short, dense, matted silvery hairs below. Stems tend to grow straight upright with straight, 1-inch spines that grow perpendicular to the stems.

Leaves: Two kinds of leaves: main and clustered. Main leaves grow on new stems and form the spines. Clustered leaves grow in axils. Clustered leaves are alternate, oblanceolate, silvery, to about 1-1/4 inch long, and hairy.

Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)
Fruits hairy, few yellow flowers per head

Flowers: Blooms spring through summer. Inflorescence: composite heads with up to 7 disk flowers. Flowers: few per disk, yellow.

Seeds: Fruits hairy. Tiny achene (like a tiny sunflower seed) with many fine bristles.

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

Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)
Clustered leaves hairy

Elevation: About 2,000 to 5,000 feet.

Distribution: California and southern Nevada.

Comments:

Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis) Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)
Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis) Mojave Cottonthorn (Tetradymia stenolepis)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 100801

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