SUBSHRUB. A strange, tiny plant that invites close inspection;
one of the few southern Arizona plants in this mostly tropical family.
The bundle of stiff, erect, wiry stems grows to 20-30 cm tall (rarely taller)
with narrow, light green leaves that are sharply toothed and often reddish
on the margins. Flowers are complicated looking, like tiny four-ribbed
hanging baskets. Seeds are covered in a fuzzy coat that is adorned
with blunt, red-tipped spines. Growth and blooming are dependent
on rain; may bloom any time from March-September, when the leaves fall.
Remains dormant in dry years. Occasional in the Empires, sometimes
locally common on bajadas, rocky washes, etc. Sida abutifolia
(Malvaceae) has similar leaves but its trailing stems are more flexible
and it has very different flowers.
FAMILY: Sterculiaceae (Cacao Family)