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Palafoxia arida var arida 2.jpg
Palafoxia arida
Scientific classification


Palafoxia, palafox, is a genus of North American flowering plants in the Bahia tribe within the (sunflower family).[2][3]

This genus is named after José de Palafox y Melzi, Duke of Saragossa (1776–1847), a Spanish captain-general, in the war against the invading armies of Napoleon.

These are drought-tolerant, annual herbs growing on sandy plains, dunes, deserts (Mojave desert, Sonoran desert) and rangeland, native to the United States and Mexico. P. callosa is naturalised in Hawaii.

The erect, slender stem grows 30–60 cm tall, branching in the lower half and is sparsely leaved. It is glandular and hairy on the upper parts.[4]

The glabrous, glandular leaves are lanceolate, 3–20 mm wide and 4–7.5 cm long, and are arranged alternately.[4]

A few flower heads appear at the end of the upper branches. The reddish to pink ray florets have three narrow lobes. They are subtended by involucral bracts.[4]

The seed-like fruit is narrow with a pappus of several pointed scales (giving rise to the common name 'Spanish Needles' for P. arida). These plants self-sow freely.[4]

They are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds and are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Schinia niveicosta, which feeds exclusively on P. linearis.

Rosy Palafox (Palafoxia rosea) has been used in folk medicine for the treatment of fever, nausea and chills.



  1. ^ a b c Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  2. ^ Lagasca y Segura, Mariano. 1816. Genera et species plantarum Elench. Pl. 26
  3. ^ Tropicos, Palafoxia Lag.
  4. ^ a b c d Flora of North America Vol. 21 Page 388 Palafoxia Lagasca
  5. ^ Turner, B. L. and M. I. Morris. 1976. Systematics of Palafoxia (Asteraceae: Helenieae). Rhodora 78: 567–628
  6. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution maps
  • Everitt, J.H.; Lonard, R.L.; Little, C.R. (2007). Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. ISBN 0-89672-614-2.
  • Tucker J.M. and M.I. Morris. 1975. New taxa of Palafoxia (Asteraceae: Helenieae). Madroño 23:79–80.
  • Turner, B. L. and M. L. Morris. 1976. Systematics of Palafoxia (Asteraceae: Helenieae). Rhodora 78:567–628.

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