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Pholisma arenarium

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Photo from

Group photo by Lara

Author: Thomas Nuttall, 1844
Origin:  Baja California; Mexico, Arizona, California; U.S.A.
Soil:  Sand - Mix
Water:  Medium
Sun:  Not Really
Thickness:  15 Centimetres
Height:  30 Centimetres
Flower:  Lavender - Deep Purple
Propagate:  Seeds
Names:  Desert Christmas Tree, Scaly-Stemmed Sand Plant, Purple Sand Food
Synonyms:  Might be: Lennoa arenaria, E. Fourn. 1869.
Pholisma depressum,
Greene, 1886.
Pholisma paniculatum,
B.C. Templeton, 1938.

This parasitic plant is a member of the Lennoaceae family. It was given this name by Thomas Nuttall in 1844. It is found in Baja California; Mexico and Arizona, California; U.S.A., growing on the roots of other plants (i.e. Croton, Chrysothamnus, Eriogonum, and Ambrosia) in sand dunes with little water and no need of sun, as it is a heterotroph; getting the nutrients from its host. The caudex can grow to 15 centimetres in diameter, the entire plant to 30 centimetres in height. The flowers are lavender to dark purple.

The genera name from Latin pholis; 'scale'. The species name from Latin arena; 'sand', referring to its native sandy habitat.

')Accordantly to the latest taxonomic system; APG IV 2016, Lennoaceae is now part of the Boraginaceae.

The flowers by Docentjoyce,