Plant Image
- David Thornburg

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Boerhavia spicata - creeping spiderling

Synonyms: Boerhavia torreyana
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Nyctaginaceae

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Usage Rights: CC BY-NC (Attribution-Non-Commercial) Usage Rights: CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Annual   Similar Species: Boerhavia coulteri
General Desc: Erect or ascending plant, sparsely branched, with leaves mostly in the basal half, with elongated clusters of tiny pinkish flowers.
Identification notes: Nearly identical to B. coulteri whose fruits have very broad ribs and narrow furrows between them, while the fruits of B. spicata have narrow ribs and wide furrows. The lower leaf surface of B. spicata is often dotted w/ brown glands.
Height: 8 to 28 inches


Habitat Description: Sandy or rocky soils in Freemont cottonwood, ash, rabbitbrush, sand sage, mixed grass, and pinyon-juniper communities.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland, Riparian, Disturbed Areas
Elevation: 2000 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: White to pinkish     Shape: Regular in elongated clusters     Tubular: Y     Flowering Period: Jun - Dec
Description: Tiny 5-petaled flowers in elongated, branched clusters that mature from the bottom upwards. Bracts deciduous, much less than half as long as the fruits.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Round or oval     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Opposite     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: Leaves and stems     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Leaves opposite and mostly in the basal half of the plant, unequal in pair, oblong to ovate. Lower leaf surface often dotted with brown glands. Stems have sticky bands between the leaf nodes and between the stem nodes. Upper leaves subsessile.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Yellowish, grayish or reddish   
Fruit Type: Achene
Fruit Notes: Fruits are crowded and often overlapping. Club-shaped, less than 1/4 inch long, with 5 narrow ribs/ridges and open, wrinkled grooves/furrows between the ridges.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
Version 8.0  
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2020  
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