Subshrubs or shrubs, 20-70 cm; internodes mostly 10-30 mm. Leaf blades linear to filiform, 20-50 × 1-5 mm. Phyllaries 5, oblong to linear, 9-15 mm. Florets (5-)12-30; corollas whitish to purplish, 6-9 mm. Cypselae 6-10 mm; pappi: longer bristles 7-9 mm. 2n = 48.
Flowering late winter-early summer; fall. Sandy, gravelly, and rocky sites (usually granitic) with desert scrub; 200-2100 m; Ariz., Calif., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Baja California, Sonora).
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Slender to moderately branched suffrutescent perennial, 20-70 cm tall, internodes mostly 10-30 mm, faintly glaucous or quite green or purplish stems. Leaves: Scattered, sparsely glandular, thinly linear to filiform blades, 0.5-1 mm wide and 2-5.5 cm long. Flowers: Heads solitary at ends of branches on peduncles 1-3 cm long and slightly dilated upward, involucres cylindro-campanulate, 8-14 mm high, phyllaries 5, oblong to linear; florets 12-30, corollas whitish to purplish, 6-9 mm, with darker purple streaks, tube shorter than narrow throat. Fruits: Brownish cypselae 6-10 mm, pappus of tawny, stramineous or rose-colored, very slender bristles 5-8 mm long. Ecology: Found on rocky slopes, outwash fans, in canyons and arroyos; below 4,000 ft (1219 m); flowers March-October. Distribution: s CA, s NV, s UT, AZ, sw NM and sw TX; south to c MEX, especially common in Baja. Notes: A very distinctive species with wiry, diffuse, highly branched stems; the whole plant being dark bluish or purplish-green with a powdery coating; the leaves often sparse or non-existent and when present, thin and linear. Especially memorable is the strong scent from the crushed plant. Ethnobotany: Taken for pain, as a liniment for rheumatism, for aches, as a wash for sores, abdominal pain, and taken to regulate delayed menstruation. Etymology: Porophyllum is from Greek poros, a passage or pore, and phyllon, leaf, a reference to the translucent glands on the leaf, while gracile means slender, or graceful. Synonyms: Porophyllum caesium, Porophyllum junciforme, Porophyllum nodosum, Porophyllum putidum, Porophyllum vaseyi Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015