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Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Houstonia rubra - red bluet

Synonyms: Hedyotis rubra, Oldenlandia rubra, Houstonia saxicola
Plant Form: Forb

Family: Rubiaceae

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Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial   Similar Species: Houstonia wrightii
General Desc: Low-growing rounded perennial with a woody taproot; forms small dense clumps; flowers are 4-petaled and barely pop up above the foliage.
Identification notes: Low-growing plant forming small clumps, linear leaves, showy pink and white 4-petaled flowers just above the foliage. Distinguished from H. wrightii>/i> by its strongly ascending (upward-pointing) leaves and flowers being solitary in the nodes.
Height: 3/4 inch to 4 inches


Habitat Description: Mesas, dry rocky hills, desert washes and areas of sandy soil. Found in pinyon-juniper woodland, rocky and sandy grasslands.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 4000 - 6000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: Pink, purplish, reddish, rose or white     Shape: Regular not in clusters     Tubular: Y     Flowering Period: Apr - Aug
Description: Slender, usually pink, tubular flower 1/2 inch wide to 1 inch long which widens and flattens at the top into 4 spreading 1/4 inch petals.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Grayish-green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Opposite     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Linear, thick leaves to 1 inch long that curl backward at the margins, densely packed on very short spreading stems.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Black   
Fruit Type: Capsule
Fruit Notes: Fruit is a 2-chambered capsule, shaped like 2 spheres glued together side-by-side with thick walls 1/16 to 1/8 inch long and 1/16 to 1/4 inch wide.
Seed Notes: The capsule splits open to release several black saucer-shaped seeds that curve inward.

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