Prickleleaf Plant Information

Prickleleaf grows in the following 2 states:

California, Nevada

Hecastocleis is a genus of plants in the daisy family containing the single species Hecastocleis shockleyi. It is known by the common name prickleleaf. This plant is native to the desert mountains and plains of eastern California (Inyo, Mono, Kern, + San Bernardino Counties) and southern Nevada (Mineral, Esmeralda, Nye, Lincoln, + Clark Counties), where it grows on arid, rocky slopes and flats.

This is a low, brambly shrub producing a tangle of stiff, branching stems reaching heights between 40 and 70 centimeters. The stems have sparse glandular hairs and are lined with small pointed green leaves with a row of widely spaced spines along each edge. As the leaf dries and its flesh falls away, the spines remain as hard prickles.
At the end of each flowering branch is a dense cluster of narrow flower heads, the entire cluster enclosed by flat, oval-shaped, sharply toothed, leaflike, pale green to straw colored bracts resembling holly leaves. Each head in the cluster contains a single flower with a white to pinkish corolla, surrounded by narrow greenish phyllaries. The corollas are mostly radially symmetric, rarely bilaterally symmetric. The fruit is a cylindrical achene.
The cluster of heads is sometimes referred to as a secondary head, and it resembles the primary head of other members of the daisy family.
Hecastocleis shockleyi is the only species in the subfamily Hecastocleidoideae of the aster family (Asteraceae). Botanists at least as early as Asa Gray (in 1882) remarked on its distinctiveness; it appears to have no close relatives within the aster family.

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