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Crucifixion Thorn
Castela emoryi
About Crucifixion Thorn (Castela emoryi) Nurseries Show All Photos Castela emoryi, with the common names Crucifixion thorn and Emory's crucifixion-thorn, is a shrub species in the genus Castela of the order Sapindales. The plant is native to the Mojave Desert and Sonoran Deserts of North America. It is found in southern California, Arizona, and Sonora state (M xico). Castela emoryi is often less than 1 metre (3. 3 ft), and occasionally to grows 4 metres (13 ft) or more. It is ranked on the California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants, as an endangered species within California, and more common elsewhere. It is threatened by solar energy development and military activities within its California range. Uses. The Yavapai people traditionally used this as a medicinal plant, making a dermatological aid from its bud's sap. Insecticide and fungicide. Castela emoryi is a plant toxin insecticide. It contains quassinoids such as glaucarubolone glucoside which has antifeedant properties against termites such as Reticulitermes flavipes, or potential fungicidal activity for the control of grape downy mildew. It also contains glaucarubol, a compound characteristic of the family, ellagic acid, betulin and (-)-syringaresinol.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Dry gravelly washes and slopes


Elevation ?
304' - 3247'

Annual Precip. ?
3.0" - 7.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.51" - 1.77"

Coldest Month ?
50.6° F - 59.8° F

Hottest Month ?
75.5° F - 88.1° F

Humidity ?
4.27 vpd - 40.81 vpd


Landscaping Information
Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment.

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available

Other Names
Common Names
Cricifixion Thorn, Emory's Crucifixion-thorn

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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