Plants perennial or annual, not cespitose, 1.5-6 dm; roots primary, woody or fibrous. Stems erect or ascending, sparsely pilose, glabrate. Leaves sessile or petiolate; petiole to 0.9 cm; blade green, elliptic, oblong, ob-lanceolate, or linear, 3-10 × 0.5-1.2 cm, sparsely pilose. Inflorescences: heads white, globose, 0.8-1.3 mm diam., subtended by 2 leaves; bractlets white, not crested. Flowers: tube densely lanose proximally; perianth lobes white, oblong, 3.5-4 mm, hyaline, apex rounded to emarginate. Utricles ovoid, 2.2 mm, apex acute. Seeds 1-1.5 mm.
Flowering late summer-winter. Sandy slopes, open woodlands, scrub, dry streambeds; 900-1800 m; Ariz., N.Mex.; Mexico.
Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969, FNA 2004, Wiggins 1964
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual or short-lived perennial herb, 15-60 cm tall; stems erect, sparingly branched, sparsely villous to glabrate; nodes conspicuously swollen. Leaves: Opposite, sessile (upper) to short-petiolate (lower); blades narrowly elliptic, oblong, or oblanceolate, 2-9 cm long, up to 3 cm wide, acute to acuminate at apex, gradually attenuate at base, entire, green, sparsely villous when young, often glabrate with age. Flowers: White to pink, in glomerules at the end of branches and in some axils; glomerules subglobose to short-cylindric, 1 cm in diameter, sessile or pedunculate, solitary or grouped; each flower in the glomerule subtended by 1 bract and 2 bractlets, these ovate-acuminate, scarious, the bracts white or bright stramineous, the bractlets white or tinged with red; perianth lobes 5, almost as long as the bractlets, densely woolly below. Fruits: Utricle ovoid, 2 mm long, membranous, with a reddish brown seed, this obovoid-lenticular, 1.5 mm long. Ecology: Found on moist soils of bottom lands, to dry open rocky slopes in canyons from 1,500-6,500 ft (457-1981 m); flowers July-November. Distribution: AZ; n MEX in Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja California, south to Nayarit. Notes: The genus Gomphrena is characterized by having heads of densely clustered flowers, each flower subtended by showy bracts. G. sonorae distinguished by being a non-caespitose, erect, sparingly branched annual with swollen nodes; narrowly oblong-oblanceolate leaves; two leaves subtending most terminal inflorescences; and flower clusters with showy, white bracts that have smooth, entire margins which turn pink or purple. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Gomphrena is derived from Gromphraea, the Greek name for a different type of Amaranth; sonorae means of or from Sonora, Mexico. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015