Plants 2.5-30 cm, (divaricately branching). Leaves cauline; sessile; blades rhombic-orbiculate to suborbiculate, 10-50 mm, bases cuneate, margins coarsely and irregularly prickly-dentate, faces glabrous (reticulate). Heads borne singly (at branch tips). Involucres campanulate, 14-17 mm. Phyllaries in 4 series, broadly ovate, margins glandular, apices acute to mucronate, abaxial faces glabrous. Receptacles reticulate (sockets separated by squarish, apically pubescent paleae 1 mm). Florets 15-24; corollas lavender-pink or white, 10-17 mm. Cypselae subcylindric, 3-7.5 mm, densely stipitate-glandular; pappi white or tawny, 10-15 mm. 2n = 54.
Flowering (Mar-)Apr(-Jun). Gravel, sandstone, silty, or caliche soils in desert scrub; 0-1800 m; Ariz., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Zacatecas).
Acourtia nana grows primarily in the trans-Pecos and western Edwards Plateau.
McDougall 1973, Kearny and Peebles 1979, FNA 2006
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Small erect perennial herb, 5-30 cm tall, from a woody, platform-like rhizome covered with thick brown tomentum, 1-5 cm below the soil surface and bearing tough woody roots 1-2 mm in diameter from its lower side. Leaves: Opposite, sessile or short-petioled, leathery, pale green, suborbicular, 2-5 cm long, coarsely and unequally spinulose-dentate, scaberulous, with veins conspicuous on both surfaces. Flowers: Flower heads solitary at ends of branches, subsessile or on stoutish peduncles 4-10 mm long; involucre (bracts surrounding the flower heads) campanulate, 1.5 cm high, the bracts in 4-5 series, imbricate, broadly ovate and abruptly attenuate to the tip, often purplish, the margins lanate-ciliate below; flowers fragrant, all bisexual, 15-24 per head, the corollas bilabiate with 2 lobes on one side and 3 lobes on the other side, pink, 1-1.5 cm long, glabrous. Fruits: Achenes linear, 5-6 mm long, strongly ribbed, with a pappus of numerous slender silky hairs, 10-15 mm long, silvery white to tawny. Ecology: Found on mesas, arid plains, and slopes, usually under shrubs; below 6,000 ft (1829 m); flowers March-June. Distribution: AZ, s NM, sw TX; south to c MEX. Notes: The genus Acourtia in our region is distinguished by being erect perennial composites with woolly bases of brownish-bronze hairs; leathery, sessile or clasping leaves with toothed margins, the teeth often with prickles; and often showy heads with pink, purple or white flowers. A. nana is distinct from other Acourtia in the region by its small stature and grayish-green, leathery, holly-like, roundish prickly leaves which clasp the stems. The flowers are fragrant, the scent reminiscent of violets. Ethnobotany: Cottonlike material at root base placed on a newborn-s umbilicus. Etymology: Acourtia is named for Mary Elizabeth Catherine Gibbes A-Court (1792-1878), while nana is from Greek nannos, dwarf. Synonyms: Perezia nana Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2014, AHazelton 2015