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Psorothamnus spinosus

Psorothamnus spinosus (A. Gray) Barneby

Dalea spinosa A. Gray

Smoke Tree, Smokethorn, Smokethorn Dalea, Corona de Cristo

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderFabalesLegumes (pea and bean families)
FamilyFabaceaeLegume family (peas and beans)
GenusPsorothamnusFrom the Greek psoros, “mangy, scabby,” and thamnos, “bush,” thus “scabshrub”
SpeciesspinosusFrom Latin for “thorny”

About plant names...

The smoke tree is native to western North America.

Identification: This is a large shrub or small tree, heavily branched and irregular in shape, spiny, up to 20' (6.1 m) tall. The tree is nearly leafless, but has small bluish-gray wedge-shaped leaves that are widest near the top, ¼" (8.5 mm) long. Flowers are dark purple to deep blue, pea-shaped, ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.3 mm) across, in loose clusters. Fruits are roughly egg-shaped, ¼" (8.3 mm) long, one end pointed, with dark red glands.

 

Psorothamnus spinosus (Smoke Tree, Smokethorn, Smokethorn Dalea, Corona de Cristo)

5/4/2007 · Death Valley Area · By Jeffrey A. Barry ID is uncertain

These similar species are most easily distinguished by leaf shape:

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Psorothamnus spinosus

Psorothamnus schottii
Common Name

Smoke Tree

Indigo Bush
Plant Large shrub or small tree, heavily branched, irregular in shape, spiny, up to 20' (6.1 m) tall. Large, densely branched spiny shrub, reaching 10' (3 m).
Flowers Dark purple to deep blue, pea-shaped flowers, ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.3 mm) across, in loose clusters. Deep purple-blue, pea-shaped flowers, ¼-⁵/₁₆" (6.3-8.3 mm) across, in loose 4-inch-long clusters.
Leaves Nearly leafless, but has small bluish-gray wedge-shaped leaves that are widest near the top, ¼" (8.5 mm) long. Needle-shaped, ½-1" (1.3-2.5 cm) long and only ¹/₁₆" (1.6 mm) wide, blue-gray or green.
Fruit Roughly egg-shaped, ¼" (8.3 mm) long, one end pointed, with dark red spots. Fruits are roughly egg-shaped, ¼" (8.3 mm) long, with raised dark red spots.
Range/ Zones

Habitats   Creosote bush scrub
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Psorothamnus spinosus on CalPhotos

Psorothamnus spinosus at the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation

Psorothamnus spinosus at Arid Zone Trees

Psorothamnus spinosus on Wikipedia

Psorothamnus spinosus on SEINet—the Southwest Environmental Information Network

Psorothamnus spinosus (Smoke Tree, Smokethorn, Smokethorn Dalea, Corona de Cristo)

5/4/2007 · Death Valley Area · By Jeffrey A. Barry ID is uncertain

Psorothamnus spinosus description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Psorothamnus spinosus (Smoke Tree, Smokethorn, Smokethorn Dalea, Corona de Cristo)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA

Range:

About this map...