Annuals, 10-90 cm. Stems usually proximally hispid, distally stipitate-glandular. Leaf blades broadly to narrowly lanceolate, 30-90 × 3-20 mm. Involucres broadly to narrowly turbinate. Phyllaries 9-12+ × 1.5-3 mm, ± equal, ± scabrous to hispid and/or stipitate-glandular. Ray florets 3-5; corollas 15-25 mm, laminae 5-12 mm. Disc florets 15-35; corollas ± actinomorphic, 10-14 mm, throats ± funnelform, shorter than lobes. Cypselae 6-9 mm; pappus scales of inner cypselae 7-9 mm. 2n = 24. Flowering summer-fall. Sandy soils; 1000-1800 m; Colo., Kans., Nebr., N.Mex., Okla., Tex.; Mexico (Chihuahua).
FNA 2006, Allred and Ivey 2012
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Annual herbs, 10–90 cm tall; stems erect, branched distally, usually proximally hispid, distally stipitate-glandular. Leaves: Lower leaves opposite and upper leaves alternate; all leaves petiolate; blades broadly to narrowly lanceolate, 3-9 cm long and 3-20 mm wide, covered with short, white appressed hairs. Flowers: Flower heads showy, pink, and radiate, in flat topped panicles at top of plant; involucres turbinate, about 1 cm high, the bracts (phyllaries) in 2-3 more or less equal series, scabrous to hispid and/or stipitate-glandular; ray florets 3–5 per flower head, the laminae (ray petals) 5-12 mm long, light pinkish purple, divided into 3 long lobes; disc florets 15–35 per floret, the corollas 10–14 mm long, upper half of the corolla divided into 5 lobes. Fruits: Achenes 6–9 mm long; inner achenes topped with a pappus of scales, 7–9 mm long Ecology: Found in sandy soils in desertscrub, grasslands, and along roadsides, from 3,000-6,000 ft (914–1829 m); flowers in summer–fall. Distribution: CO, KS, NE, NM, OK, and TX; south to Chihuahua, MEX. Notes: Palafoxia is an interesting genus in that it has some members with radiate flower heads and some with discoid flower heads. The disc florets themselves are showy, the corollas usually pink with 5 spreading lobes at the top. P. sphacelata has these disc florets as well as some ray florets, which are also quite showy with their pink ligules divided into 3 long lobes. The species is a sand-favoring annual, found along the Rio Grande drainage in New Mexico and eastward into the Great Plains. The only other species of Palafoxia in New Mexico is P. rosea, which has much narrower leaves, lacks ray florets, and has smaller disc florets, 7-10 mm long (compared to 10-14 mm long in P. sphacelata). Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genus have uses. Etymology: Palafoxia honors Juan de Palafox y Mendoza (1600-1659), founder of the University of Mexico and bishop of Puebla; sphacelata is from the Greek word sphakelos, for rotted or withered, referring to the overall withered appearance of the plant. Synonyms: Stevia sphacelata Editor: AHazelton 2017