Boerhavia purpurascens A. Gray
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Max Licher  
Herbs, annual; taproot tapered, soft or ± woody. Stems erect or ascending, unbranched when small to branched ca. 1-5 times throughout, 10-60 dm, minutely puberulent to glandular-pubescent basally, usually glandular-pubescent, sometimes minutely puberulent or glabrous distally. Leaves mostly in basal 1/2; larger leaves with petiole 2-22 mm, blade oval, ovate, oblong, or lanceolate, 12-37 × 5-20 mm (distal leaves smaller, proportionately narrower), adaxial surface glabrate, sparsely puberulent, sometimes glandular-pubescent, abaxial surface not noticeably to prominently paler than adaxial, glabrate or occasionally glandular-pubescent, both surfaces usually punctate with dark cells, base round to obtuse, margins sinuate to sinuate-crisped, apex acute, obtuse, or round. Inflorescences terminal, branched ca. 1-4 times unequally, without sticky internodal bands; branches strongly ascending, terminating in compact, capitate or subcapitate flower clusters, axis 0-2.5 mm. Flowers: pedicel 0.8-2.5 mm; bracts at base of perianth persistent, 1-3, ovate to obovate, 2.5-4 mm, apex apiculate; perianth whitish to pale pink, funnelform beyond constriction, 2.5-4 mm; stamens 3-4(-5), well exserted. Fruits 3-9 per cluster, straw colored to grayish tan, broadly obovoid, 2.3-3 × 1.3-1.7 mm (l/w: 1.6-2.1), apex round or broadly obtuse, glabrous; ribs 5, acute, smooth; sulci 2-2.5 times as wide as base of ribs, not or shallowly rugose, lightly papillate. Flowering late summer. Sandy soils in open arid grasslands, among open shrubs or oaks, pinyon pines, juniper [thornscrub]; [200-]1300-1800 m; Ariz., N.Mex.; Mexico (Chihuahua, Sonora). The inclusion of Boerhavia purpurascens in recent Texas floras is based upon misidentified Mirabilis species (C. F. Reed 1969).

FNA 2004, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual herbs, to 60 cm tall, from a soft or woody taproot; stems erect or ascending, unbranched on small plants and branched 1-5 times throughout on larger plants; herbage puberulent to glandular-pubescent. Leaves: Opposite, on petioles 2-20 mm long; blades ovate to lanceolate, 1-4 cm long and 5-20 mm wide, with sinuate and sometimes crisped margins; leaf surfaces usually punctate with dark cells, especially the leaves near the base of the plant; leaf undersides usually a bit paler than upper leaf surfaces. Flowers: Small, pink to purple, in small dense clusters at branch tips, the clusters arranged in panicles that branch 1-4 times, the branches unequally-lengthed and covered with gland-tipped hairs; sepals appearing petal-like, 3-4 mm long, fused into a funnel-shape, whitish to pale pink or purple; petals absent. Fruits: Achenes in clusters of 3-9, straw-colored to grayish-tan, 2-3 mm long and 1-2 mm wide, broadly obovoid with a round blunt tip and 5 smooth longitudinal  ribs. Also look for the flower stalks which are covered with gland-tipped hairs. Ecology: Found on limestone or sandy soils, in open arid grasslands, or among shrubs, oaks, pinyon pines, chapparal, or junipers; from 700-6,000 ft (213-1829 m); flowers in late summer. Distribution: s AZ and s NM; south to MEX Notes: This pretty annual spiderling has small but showy pink to purple flowers (showy relative to many in this genus). The fruits have 5 narrow ridges and open, broad furrows between the ridges. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genus have uses. Etymology: Boerhavia is named after Dutch botanist Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738); purpurascens means becoming purple or purplish. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher 2012, AHazelton 2017
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Max Licher  
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Patrick Alexander  
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Patrick Alexander  
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Patrick Alexander  
Boerhavia purpurascens image
Max Licher  
Boerhavia purpurascens image
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