Plants annual, not cespitose, 2-7 dm; roots fibrous. Stems usually erect, pilose or strigose. Leaves sessile or petiolate; petiole to 0.7 cm; blade green, obovate or oblong, 1.5-6 × 0.4-2.5 cm, apex obtuse or acute, pilose. Inflores-cences: heads yellowish white or rarely reddish, subglobose, 12-16 mm diam.; bractlets with laciniate crests. Flowers: tube lanate; perianth lobes white, linear, 4.1 mm, hyaline, apex attenuate. Utricles ovoid, 1.5 mm, apex truncate. Seeds 1.5 mm. Flowering late summer-fall. Moist ground, bottomlands, canyons, rocky open slopes; 500-2000 m; Ariz., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico.
Wiggins 1964, FNA 2004
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual, erect to decumbent with simple to branched stems 20-70 cm tall with swollen nodes, the stem pilose to strigose. Leaves: Short petiolate or sessile, the blade green, broadly oblong to oblanceolate or oval, 1.5-6 cm long by 1-2.5 cm wide, apex obtuse or rounded. Flowers: Yellowish white subglobose heads that are rarely reddish, 12-16 mm in diameter, subtended by 2 sessile bractlets, perianth segments linear-lanceolate, long-attenuate, 4-5 mm long, the lobes white, hyaline. Fruits: Ovoid utricles 1.5 mm with a truncate apex, slightly compressed, with reddish brown seeds. Ecology: Found on rocky hills and plains, occasionally on grassy slopes; 3,000-5,500 ft (914-1676 m); flowers August-March. Distribution: Ranges across the Sonoran Desert and south into Mexico as far as Durango and Jalisco. Notes: Gomphrena are distinguished by the dense growth of usually sessile leaves directly below the inflorescence and especially the round to slightly elongated inflorescence of dense, usually whitish bracts which can turn bright pink on some species. G. nitida distinguished by being strictly annual with swollen nodes, obovate-oblong leaves and white bracts with fringed margins which turn pink or purple. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Gomphrena is of uncertain origin, while nitida is from Latin meaning shining, lustrous, or whitish. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2011, FSCoburn 2014