Chaenactis fremontii

A. Gray

Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 19: 30. 1883.

Common names: Fremont or desert pincushion pincushion flower
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 21. Treatment on page 414. Mentioned on page 409, 411.

Plants 10–30(–40) cm; proximal indument glabrescent (early ± arachnoid, glabrous by flowering). Stems mostly 1–12; branches mainly proximal. Leaves basal (withering) and ± cauline, 1–7(–10) cm; largest blades linear and terete or ± elliptic and plane, ± succulent, 0–1-pinnately lobed; lobes 1–2(–5) pairs, remote, ± terete. Heads (± radiant) mostly 1–5 per stem. Peduncles 2–8(–10) cm, distally usually ± stipitate-glandular and, sometimes, ± arachnoid (at least early, often glabrescent by fruit). Involucres ± hemispheric to obconic (bases pale and ± truncate in fruit). Phyllaries: longest 8–10(–12) mm; outer usually glabrescent in fruit, apices erect, acute, ± rigid. Florets: corollas white to pinkish, 5–8 mm (inner); peripheral corollas spreading, zygomorphic, enlarged. Cypselae (3–)6–8 mm; pappi of (1–)4(–5) scales in 1 series, longest scales 6–8.5 mm, lengths 1–1.3 times corollas (apices visible among corollas at flowering). 2n = 10.

Phenology: Flowering Mar–May.
Habitat: Sandy or gravelly soils, warm deserts, often growing through shrubs
Elevation: -10–1600 m



Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah, Mexico (Baja California).


Chaenactis fremontii is often the most abundant spring wildflower in the lower Mojave and northern Sonoran deserts, where it is reported to be a significant food source for desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii Cooper). It also extends seaward into the southern San Joaquin Valley area of west-central California, often as hybrids with other taxa (see sectional discussion).

The involucre bases described above are characteristic of Chaenactis fremontii and can help separate it from some forms of C. stevioides.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Chaenactis fremontii"
James D. Morefield +
A. Gray +
Fremont or desert pincushion +  and pincushion flower +
Ariz. +, Calif. +, Nev. +, Utah +  and Mexico (Baja California). +
-10–1600 m +
Sandy or gravelly soils, warm deserts, often growing through shrubs +
Flowering Mar–May. +
Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts +
Undefined (tribe Undefined) subtribe Bahiinae +  and Undefined (tribe Undefined) subtribe Palafoxiinae +
Chaenactis fremontii +
Chaenactis sect. Chaenactis +
species +