Wooly Tidestromia (Tidestromia lanuginosa)

A member of the Amaranth Family, this annual herb grows in a mostly prostrate fashion with strongly reddish stems dusted with tiny white hairs. The characteristic form is shown below left, though the plant may also attain a more bushy tangle as hinted at in the banner photo above. The leaves (and flowers) cluster at stem joints and tips, as you can see in the images below center and right. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)

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The leaves are "obovate" in shape -- like the cross-section of an egg with the narrow end turned downward -- and hairy silvery white. Flowers cluster at the leaf axils, and are a slightly greenish yellow with 5 sepals. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)

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Wooly Tidestromia appears following our summer Monsoon rains. When these fail it may not appear at all. Below, a close-up view of flowers seen in Lower Hot Springs Canyon on August 2, 2008: (Click on the image to enlarge it.)