Plants herbaceous, overall lightly pubescent with white, T-shaped minute hairs. Stems erect or ascending, sparsely to moderately leafy, 15-40 cm. Leaves dull green when fresh or dry, petiolate, those of a pair very unequal (the smaller often less than 1/2 the size of the larger), gradually reduced toward inflorescence, fleshy; petiole 5-45 mm; blade ovate to ovate-oblong or deltate, 15-50 × 6-40 mm, base rounded to subcordate, margins entire or undulate, apex acute, obtuse, or rounded. Flowers 3-25 in umbellate clusters, in forks of branches and distal axils, and terminal on branches; pedicel 1-4 mm; perianth 4-6 mm, tube greenish pink, limbs pink to lavender, 4-6 mm diam.; stamens 2(-3), widely spreading. Fruits 5 mm, puberulent with flattened, white hairs; wings 1.5-2 mm wide. Flowering late spring-early fall. Dry, sandy, and gravelly areas, rock, gypseous clay; 700-1700 m; Ariz.; N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Chihuahua). P. C. Standley (1916b) erected Ammocodon to accommodate this primarily morning-blooming species, based on its shorter perianth, fewer stamens, and umbellate inflorescences. B. A. Fowler and B. L. Turner (1977) maintained the genus separate from Selinocarpus. A. Heimerl (1934c) included the species in Selinocarpus, as did V. Bittrich and U. Kühn (1993). R. A. Levin (2000) presented evidence to support the inclusion of this species within a Selinocarpus clade within Acleisanthes, most closely allied to A. somalensis (Chiovenda) R. A. Levin.
FNA 2004, Allred 2012
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb, 15-40 cm tall, from a stout taproot; stems erect to ascending; herbage covered with minute T-shaped hairs. Leaves: Opposite, with one leaf of each pair much larger than the other; on petioles 5-45 mm long; blades fleshy, dull-green colored, and oblong-ovate to triangular, 1-5 cm long and 6-40 mm wide, with a rounded to heart-shaped base and smooth or wavy margins. Flowers: Purple-pink, in umbellate clusters of 3-25 flowers, located at the forks and tips of the branches; petals fused into a greenish-pink tube 4-6 mm long, topped with 5 pink to lavender lobes, these spreading and 2-3 mm long. Fruits: Achenes 5 mm long, ellipsoid and hairy, with thin papery wings 2 mm wide. Ecology: Found in Chihuahuan Desert plains, flats, bajadas, and foothills, in dry sandy or gravelly to gypseous clay soils, and occasionally along city streets; from 2,000-6,000 ft (610-1829 m); flowers May-October. Distribution: se AZ, s NM, and w TX; south to n MEX. Notes: This leggy herb is distinguished by its clusters of widely bell-shaped purple flowers which superficially resemble those of Phacelia spp. (purple scorpionweed), and the white-hairy leaves which superficially resemble those of Chenopodium spp. (goosefoot). Use your hand lens to see the minute, t-shaped hairs on the leaves and young stems. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Acleisanthes comes from the Greek a- without or lacking, cleis, something that closes or encloses, and anthos, flower, referring to the lack of showy bracts enclosing the flowers, which are found in many other members of the four o'clock family; lanceolata alludes to the lance-shaped leaves.; chenopodioides means resembling the genus Chenopodium, alluding to the leaves. Synonyms: Ammocodon chenopodioides, Selinocarpus chenopodioides Editor: AHazelton 2017