Boerhavia intermedia M.E. Jones
Family: Nyctaginaceae
fivewing spiderling,  more...
[Boerhavia erecta var. intermedia (M.E. Jones) Kearney & Peebles,  more]
Boerhavia intermedia image
Max Licher  
Herbs, annual; taproot tapered, soft or ± woody. Stems usually erect or ascending, occasionally decumbent, moderately or profusely branched primarily distally, 2-6 (-8) dm, minutely puberulent with bent hairs basally, glabrous or minutely puberulent distally. Leaves mostly in basal 1/2 of plant; larger leaves with petiole 7-25 mm, blade broadly ovate or oval to lanceolate, 20-45 × 7-16 mm (distal leaves smaller, sometimes longer, proportionately narrower), adaxial surface usually glabrous, occasionally glandular-puberulent, often minutely punctate, abaxial surface paler than adaxial, glabrous or glabrate, usually punctate with small patches of reddish or brownish cells, base round, obtuse, or truncate, margins entire or slightly sinuate, apex acute, obtuse, or round. Inflorescences terminal, forked ca. 3-6 times ± evenly (or clearly unevenly), diffuse, usually with sticky internodal bands; branches strongly ascending, terminating in umbels or flowers borne singly, occasionally subumbellate (all pedicels not attaching at same point), rarely irregularly compound umbels. Flowers: pedicel 0.5-3.2 mm; bracts at base of perianth quickly deciduous, (1-)2, narrowly lance-acuminate, 0.5-1 mm; perianth whitish to pale pink or purplish, campanulate distal to constriction, 0.7-1.2[-2] mm; stamens 2-3, included or barely exserted. Fruits 1-15 per cluster, straw colored or gray-brown, obconic, broadly low conic, 2-2.8(-3.2) × 0.7-1.3 mm (l/w: 1.7-3.2), apex nearly truncate, glabrous; ribs (4-)5, acute, slightly rugose or undulate near sulci; sulci 0.2-1 times as wide as base of ribs, coarsely transversely rugose, smooth or very faintly papillate. 2n = 52, ca. 54. Flowering summer-late fall. Sandy or gravelly areas in deserts and arid grasslands, disturbed areas; [0-]100-1700 m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora). Boerhavia intermedia is a wide-ranging and variable species of the arid areas of southwestern North America. Ordinarily, the terminal inflorescence is an umbel of at least a few flowers. Plants with few-flowered umbels often have only one flower at some of the terminal inflorescences. Plants with predominantly or entirely one-flowered terminal inflorescences occasionally occur in the eastern part of the range. To the west, and especially on the Coloradan portion of the Sonoran Desert and on the Baja California peninsula, plants with one-flowered terminal inflorescences are more frequent, and even though those have five-ribbed fruits, they often have been identified as B. triquetra. In that region, such plants may have proportionately broader fruits as the ribs become more winglike. Some plants in southern California bear a few fruits with four angles, and in this respect are intermediate to B. triquetra.

FNA 2003, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect or ascending annual from a tapered taproot, soft to woody, occasionally decumbent, moderately or profusely branched primarily near top, 20-60 cm long, minutely puberulent with bent hairs basally, glabrous or minutely puberulent near tips. Leaves: Opposite, mostly in basal half of plant, blades broadly oblong to ovate-lanceolate, obtuse or acute at apex, 4-5 cm long, 1-5 cm wide, often brown punctate, under side paler than upper, rounded base, obtuse, or truncate, margins entire or slightly sinuate. Flowers: Forked about 3-6 times, cymose-paniculate, diffuse, usually with sticky internodal bands, branches strongly ascending; flowers on pedicel 0.5-3.2 mm, bracts at base of perianth quickly deciduous 2 narrowly lance-acuminate, 0.5-1 mm, perianth whitish to pale pink or purplish, campanulate distal to constrictions, 0.7-1.2 mm; 2-3 stamens, included or barely exserted. Fruits: Anthocarp, 1-15 per cluster, straw colored or gray brown, obconic, broadly low conic, 2-2.8 mm by 0.7-1.3 mm, apex nearly truncate, glabrous. Ecology: Found in sandy soils from 1,000-4,500 ft (305-1372 m); flowers July-September. Distribution: s CA, s NV, AZ, NM, s TX; south to n MEX. Notes: Wide ranging and variable species, usually the inflorescence is an umbel of at least a few flowers, with pedicels equal although in our region they are predominantly one-flowered terminal inflorescences. Very similar to B. erecta except often shorter and with nearly equal pedicels (unequal in erecta). Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in genus have uses. Etymology: Boerhavia is for Hermann Boerhaave (1663-1738) a Dutch botanist, while intermedia means in between. Synonyms: Boerhavia erecta var. intermedia Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015
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Liz Makings  
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Max Licher  
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Max Licher  
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