Gen. Pl., 448. 1789.

Common names: Sand-verbena
Etymology: Greek abros, de licate or graceful
Synonyms: Tricratus L’Heritier ex Willdenow
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 61. Mentioned on page 16.
FNA4 P11 Abronia fragrans.jpegAbronia fragrans
Abronia macrocarpa
Abronia elliptica
Abronia angustifolia
Abronia turbinata
Abronia pogonantha
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
FNA4 P12 Abronia villosa var villosa.jpegAbronia villosa var. villosa
Abronia villosa var. aurita
Abronia bigelovii
Tripterocalyx carneus
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn
Bee F. Gunn

Herbs, annual or perennial, sometimes cespitose or appearing acaulescent, usually viscid-pubescent, from slender to stout taproot (extensively rhizomatous in Abronia bolackii). Stems prostrate to erect, unarmed, without glutinous bands on internodes. Leaves usually basal and cauline (all basal in A. bigelovii and A. nana), unequal in each pair, petiolate; blade ± thick and succulent, base usually asymmetric. Inflorescences axillary (appearing scapose in A. bigelovii and A. nana), pedunculate, capitate clusters, with peripheral flowers usually opening first; receptacle slightly rounded to conic, without pedicel-like projections; bracts persistent, not accrescent, 5–10, distinct, forming involucre, lanceolate to broadly ovate, thinly papery or scarious, translucent, occasionally thin and green. Flowers bisexual, chasmogamous; perianth radially symmetric, funnelform or salverform, constricted distal to ovary, abruptly expanded to 5-lobed limb; stamens 5–9, included; styles included; stigmas linear. Fruits winged or not, usually fusiform or turbinate, in profile rhombic, cordate, or obdeltate, coriaceous, glabrate to viscid puberulent; wings 2–5, opaque, subtly veined, not or only slightly extending beyond apex or base of body, distal margins sometimes dilated and flattened, broader than lamina, interior hollow, forming cavity, or filled with spongy tissue; sulci smooth or slightly rugose.


North America, Mexico


Species ca. 20 (19 in the flora).

Mature to near-mature fruits are usually required for identification of Abronia species because of the variation of vegetative structures within each taxon. Abronia appears to be in a state of active evolution. Cross-pollination readily occurs in the greenhouse, producing a variety of hybrids. Hybridization occasionally occurs in the field.


1 Limb of perianth yellow or deep purplish red; plants perennial; stems prostrate, in vigorous plants forming large mats; seashores > 2
1 Limb of perianth white to magenta, never yellow or deep purplish red; plants annual or perennial; stems, when present, erect, ascending to prostrate, and then sometimes forming mats; mostly inland > 3
2 Limb of perianth yellow Abronia latifolia
2 Limb of perianth deep purplish red Abronia maritima
3 Plants perennial, acaulescent or nearly so, usually cespitose, rarely with short-branched aerial caudices; leaves all basal; inflorescences not prominently axillary, appearing scapose; wings on fruit not dilated > 4
3 Plants annual or perennial, usually caulescent, infrequently cespitose; stems elongate, rarely with short internodes; leaves basal and cauline (basal leaves sometimes absent on older plants); inflorescences prominently axillary; wings on fruit dilated or not > 5
4 Leaf blade 5 or more times as long as wide Abronia bigelovii
4 Leaf blade less than 3 times as long as wide Abronia nana
5 Fruits 2(-3)-winged; wings sometimes partially folded together, interior spongy filled Abronia pogonantha
5 Fruits (2-)3-5-winged, or wings absent, if 2-winged, wings usually folded together, interior sometimes hollow, forming cavities > 6
6 Flowers 1-5 per inflorescence; peduncles shorter than subtending petioles Abronia alpina
6 Flowers 6-80 per inflorescence; peduncles longer than subtending petioles > 7
7 Fruit wings (if present) thin, without cavities; fruits usually as wide as long > 8
7 Fruit wings (if present) compressed but appearing thick, cavity extending throughout interior of wings; fruits seldom as wide as long > 10
8 Fruit bodies coriaceous; wings (2-)3-5, if 2 then wings folded together to form single deep groove Abronia mellifera
8 Fruit bodies indurate; wings 3-5 (rarely absent), not folded together > 9
9 Fruit bodies ± rugose-veined, seldom smooth; inland Abronia villosa
9 Fruit bodies smooth, not rugose-veined; coastal Abronia umbellata
10 Fruit wings dilated distally and flattened perpendicular to plane of lamina > 11
10 Wings of fruit not dilated distally, or wings absent > 15
11 Plants usually annual, occasionally perennial > 12
11 Plants perennial > 13
12 Perianth limb magenta to pale pink, infrequently pale rose; leaf blades mostly ovate to elliptic Abronia angustifolia
12 Perianth limb white to pale pink; leaf blades broadly ovate to ± orbicu- late Abronia turbinata
13 Perianth limb pale pink to light magenta; inflorescence bracts acute to attenutate at apex; fruits 4-7 mm; calcareous or gypseous soils Abronia carletonii
13 Perianth limb white or greenish white; inflorescence bracts acute to obtuse or rounded at apex; fruits 5-12 mm; usually sandy or gravelly soils, sometimes gypseous > 14
14 Stems arising from a taproot; fruits 5-12 mm; flowers 25-75 per head; sandy soils, intermountain west Abronia elliptica
14 Stems arising from long cordlike rhizomes; fruits 5-7 mm; flowers 15-25 per head; gypseous sandy or gravelly soils, nw New Mexico Abronia bolackii
15 Wings of fruit absent Abronia argillosa
15 Wings of fruit usually present (reduced to lobes in A. ammophila) > 16
16 Fruits stiffly coriaceous to indurate > 17
16 Fruits scarious > 18
17 Leaf blades 1-2.5 cm; fruits 4-6 mm, ± rhombic or fusiform in profile, tapered at both ends; peripheral fruits not or only slightly distorted Abronia ammophila
17 Leaf blades usually 3-12 cm; fruits 5-12 mm, ± heart-shaped in profile (when wings not distorted), tapered at base, beaked within broad notch at apex; peripheral fruits often distorted and S-shaped in lateral view Abronia fragrans
18 Fruit bodies smooth, reticulate veined at apex, ± 2 times as long as wide Abronia ameliae
18 Fruit bodies sometimes rugose, not reticulate veined at apex; fruits 0.7-2 times as long as wide Abronia macrocarpa

"thick" is not a number."thin" is not a number.

... more about "Abronia"
Leo A. Galloway +
Jussieu +
glutinous +
unequal +
woody +, leathery +  and fleshy +
undulate;plane;linear;ovate or more or less round +
succulent +
persistent +
distinct +
lanceolate +  and broadly ovate +
not accrescent +
scarious +  and papery +
corollalike +  and petaloid +
Sand-verbena +
flattened +  and dilated +
North America +  and Mexico +
curved +  and straight +
Greek abros, de licate or graceful +
inconspicuous +  and showy +
1 +  and 80 +
chasmogamous +  and bisexual +
not +  and winged +
glabrate +  and viscid puberulent +
obdeltate +, cordate +, rhombic +, turbinate +  and fusiform +
coriaceous +
cauline +  and basal +
unequal +
5-lobed +
pubescent +  and glabrous +
sinuate +  and entire +
expanded +
salverform +
constricted +
pedicel-like +
slightly rounded;conic +
galloway1975a +  and tillett1967a +
thick +  and thin +
fibrous;fleshy +
membranaceous +
ribbed +, 10-ribbed +  and 5-ribbed +
pubescent +, glabrous +  and warty +
wrinkled +
prostrate +  and erect +
fusiform +  and linear +
filiform +
rugose +  and smooth +
Tricratus +
slender +  and stout +
Abronia +
Nyctaginaceae +
gland-tipped +
perennial +  and annual +
herb +, appearing +  and cespitose +