Palafoxia arida var. gigantea, with the common name Spanish needles, is a species of flowering plant from the sunflower family (Asteraceae).
Palafoxia arida var. gigantea Wikipedia
It is found in the western and northwestern Sonoran Desert of Arizona and its Colorado Desert subregion of southeastern California, and in northwestern Mexico in Sonora and Baja California states.
It is most commonly found in sand dunes, and sometimes in riverine areas, including along the Colorado River, Gila River, and irrigation canals in Imperial County, California.
It is a California Native Plant Society listed Vulnerable species in California.
Palafoxia arida var. gigantea is an erect, slender stem grows 30–60 cm tall, branching in the lower half and is sparsely leaved. It is glandular and hairy on the upper parts.
It has 2-5 inch slender leaves.
In the Yuma region of the Lower Colorado River Valley, in semi-shaded sites with annual but sparse rainfall, single plants can grow to be bushy and produce around 100 flowers.
The wind-borne seeds are dandelion-like, but larger and in a smaller quantity per flower. The plant with seed is easily identified since the seeds splay out in a flat circle until broken from the plant by strong wind. The seed is macroscopic in size, with about 10-16 seeds per circular flower-splay, each seed up to 0.6 in before the parachute.