Roundleaf puncturebract (Oxytheca perfoliata)


Roundleaf puncturebract (Oxytheca perfoliata)

Photo Courtesy of Don Davis

Oxytheca perfoliata is a species of flowering plant in the buckwheat family known by the common names roundleaf puncturebract and roundleaf oxytheca. It is native to the southwestern United States, where it is a common plant of the deserts and some woodland and valley areas. It is an annual herb producing a leafless stem up to about 20 centimeters in maximum height in the spring; during the winter the plant is a small rosette of oblong or spoon-shaped leaves a few centimeters wide. The plant is red-veined green, or often brown to maroon or magenta in color. The inflorescence atop the stem is punctuated by nodes at which the bracts are fused to form a cup or band up to about 2.5 centimeters wide. At the end of each branching of the stem is a similar cup of bracts partially fused around a cluster of flowers. The bracts are tipped in spinelike awns. The flowers are white to yellow-green and hairy in texture.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.