Plant: shrub, stiff, angular, mound forming shrubs 0.2-0.8(-1.5) m high; young branches canescent; old stems terete, blue-green, rigid with acute spinose tips. Leaves: usually sparse, occasionally almost completely lacking, 4-20 mm long, 1-5 mm wide, canescent throughout Flowers: solitary, flowering stalks to 25 mm long, canescent; bractlets 4-10 mm long, 0.5-3 mm wide, medial on flowering stalk; sepals 5, reflexed, purple or deep red-pink, canescent or strigose on the outer surfaces; lowermost sepal 9-12(-15) mm long, 2.5-5 mm wide; elaiophores orbicular to reniform, 1.5-3(-4.5) mm long, 1.5-3(-5) mm wide, deep purple, red-brown, pink or yellow, the dorsal surfaces bullate and entirely covered with round blisters; petaloid petals 3, pink or purple at the tip, green basally, distinct to base, narrowly oblanceolate, 3-6 mm long, 0.4-2 mm wide, the terminal expanded portion entire, minutely serrate or shallowly notched; stamens 4, didynamous, curved upward, inserted at the base of the petaloid petals, the upper pair 3.5-6 mm long, the lower pair 5-8 mm long; ovary 3-4 mm long; style red or pink Fruit: FRUITS cordate to circular in outline, 5.5-10 mm wide excluding spines, canescent, sericeous, or strigose with white or brown trichomes; individual spines (1.5-)2.5-5(-6) mm long, bearing a whorl of amber-colored, recurved barbs up to 1 mm long at the apex; SEEDS globose, gray-brown, smooth, lacking endosperm Misc: Deserts; below 1100 m (3600 ft.); (Mar)Apr.-Sept.(-Nov) Notes: hemiparasitic in AZ; petals highly modified References: B. B. Simpson & A. Salywon. Krameriaceae. JANAS 32:57-61. J.C. Hickman, ed. The Jepson Manual. ASU specimens.
Wiggins 1964, Simpson and Salywon 1999, FEIS 1991, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Common Name: white ratany Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Stiff, intricately branched and mounded shrubs 20-80 cm tall, young branches densely canescent; old stems terete, blue-green, with rigid spinose tips. Leaves: Sparse, alternate and simple, linear to oblong, sessile, acute to obtuse, often apiculate, 1-3 mm wide, 5-10 mm; occasionally completely lacking. Flowers: Peduncles 15-25 mm long, sericeous, bracts foliaceous, borne at middle of peduncle; sepals 5, lanceolate, acute, purple to deep red-purple, 9-12 mm long, canescent on exposed parts; lower petals 2.5-3 mm long, suborbicular, often with many small tubercules on dorsal surfaces; upper petals 3, spatulate, 4-5 mm long, slender claws, distinct and pink to purple at tip, green basally; stamens 4 curved upward and inserted at base of petals. Fruits: Broadly ovoid to globose, densely woolly body, spines acicular, 5.5-10 mm long, hairy below, glabrous toward apex, bearing 2-5 stout recurved barbs to 1 mm in terminal whorl. Ecology: Found on dry slopes along washes and on hillsides below 3,500 ft (1067 m); flowers March-September. Notes: Told apart from K. erecta by the blue-green cast of the old stems, the overall canescence of the shrub, the whorled spines at the apex of the fruit, and by the petals not being connate. Ethnobotany: Used as a wash for sores as a disinfectant, as an eye medicine, taken for pain, coughs, fevers, sore throats, for swelling, and the roots were boiled and ground as a dye in basket making. Etymology: Krameria named after Johann Georg Heinrich Kramer (1684-1744) an Austrian physician and botanist, while grayi is named for the American botanist Asa Gray. Synonyms: Krameria bicolor Editor: SBuckley, 2010