Showy Rushpink (Skeletonweed; Arizona Rushpink)
Lygodesmia grandiflora var. arizonica
Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora - Compositae) - Sunflower Family
Perennial herbs; milky juice; stems 2.4” to 1.6' (0.6 to 5 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate or mainly basal and still alternate; simple; can have hairs; 0.2” to 4” (0.5 to 10 cm) long or more, 0.04” to 0.2” (1 to 5 mm) wide
Flowers: flowers are all raylike; 5 to 10 rays are pink, purple, or rarely white; 0.8” to 1.6” (2 to 4 cm) long
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June, July
Habitat in Arches National Park: mainly in sand in desert shrub, grassland and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road near Petrified Dunes, park road mile 7, west boundary of park
Other: The genus name, “Lygodesmia”, is from the Greek “lygodes” which means “willow-like” and "desmos" which means “band, chain, or bundle”. The species name, “grandiflora” , means “large flower” and the variety name, "arizonica" , means “of or from Arizona ” relating to its range.
This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.
Did You Know?
Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Arches in the late 1950s. His 1968 memoir of this experience, "Desert Solitaire," has become a classic of desert literature.