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Thorny Skeletonweed
Pleiacanthus spinosus
About Thorny Skeletonweed (Pleiacanthus spinosus) 0 Nurseries Carry This Plant Pleiacanthus is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the aster family containing the single species Pleiacanthus spinosus (formerly Stephanomeria spinosa), which is known by the common name thorn skeletonweed, or thorny skeletonweed. It is native to the western United States from Montana and Idaho to southern California and Arizona, where it grows in many types of mostly dry habitat from deserts to mountains. It is a spindly subshrub producing several slender stems up to 40 or 50 centimeters tall from a woody caudex. The stems divide many times into short, rigid branches which narrow to sharp thorn-tips. The plant is mostly hairless except for brownish woolly tufts at the base and below the basal leaves. The leaves are small and linear on the lower stem, and reduced to scale-like growths on the upper branches. Flower heads occur near the ends of the branches. Each has a cylindrical base wrapped in one layer of phyllaries. The head contains 3 to 5 ray florets, each with an elongated tube and a pale to bright pink ligule. The fruit is an achene tipped with a cluster of pappus bristles which are not plumelike as are those of the Stephanomeria species with which this plant was once classified.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type
Perennial herb

1.3 - 1.6 ft tall

Landscaping Information
Natural Setting
Annual Precipitation: 5.3" - 56.9", Summer Precipitation: 0.56" - 4.21", Coldest Month: 22.6" - 57.8", Hottest Month: 42.2" - 85.1", Humidity: 1.19" - 37.78", Elevation: 1334" - 11476"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Spiny Skeletonweed, Thorn Skeletonweed, Thorny Wire-lettuce

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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