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Stanleya pinnata (Pursh) Britton

Prince’s plume, desert princesplume

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
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
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyBrassicaceaeMustards, cabbages
GenusStanleyaFor British naturalist Lord Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby

About plant names...

Prince's plume is a hardy, drought-tolerant North American native plant. They like soils rich in selenium, which they accumulate to some degree. This imparts an unpleasant odor to crushed leaves or stems of plants growing in such soils.

Identification: Plants are up to 5' (1.5 m) in height. Leaves are mostly basal, grayish- or bluish-green in color, often with a white, waxy coating. They are pinnate, and lanceolate. Basal leaves are 2-6" (5-15 cm) long; upper leaves are smaller and may not be divided. Flowers are yellow, on long racemes that bloom from the bottom up, over many weeks or months. The stalks remain for a long period after blooming. Flowers are ¼-¾" (8.4-19 mm) in size, appearing from July to September. Seedpods are 1-3" (2.5-7.6 cm) long.

Online References:

Wildflowers, Ferns & Trees of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah

Northern Arizona Flora


Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center


Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants


Stanleya pinnata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Stanleya pinnata (prince’s plume, desert princesplume)

5/22/2009 · Wupatki National Monument, Ari­zona

Stanleya pinnata (prince’s plume, desert princesplume)

5/22/2009 · Wupatki National Monument, Ari­zona
≈ 3½ × 4" (8.8 × 10 cm)

Stanleya pinnata (prince’s plume, desert princesplume)

6/2/2009 · Zion National Park, Utah
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 7 cm)


About this map...