Carphochaete bigelovii – Bigelow's Bristlehead

Carphochaete bigelovii - Bigelow's Bristlehead, Bigelow Bush (flowers)

Carphochaete bigelovii - Bigelow's Bristlehead, Bigelow Bush (seed head)

Carphochaete bigelovii - Bigelow's Bristlehead, Bigelow Bush (leaves)

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Carphochaete bigelovii

Common Names: Bigelow's Bristlehead, Bigelow Bush

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Subshrub, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland, Mountain. This wildflower grows on rocky slopes in grasslands, chaparral, and pine-oak or juniper-oak woodlands in the mountains.

Flower Color: White, Pale pink, Pale lavender

Flowering Season: Late winter, Spring, Early summer

Height: Up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall

Description: The rayless flower heads have a cluster of several relatively large disk flowers with 5 point-tipped lobes, a purplish or pinkish throat, and an exerted stigma with 2 arched branches. The flowers are followed by bristly seeds (cypselae). The leaves are green, hairy, dotted with tiny glands, linear to narrowly elliptical in shape, and either opposite or fascicled (in small bundles) on the older growth. The stems are stiff, slender, hairy, reddish, and may be woody at the base of the plant.

The similar Desert Palafox or Spanish Needles (Palafoxia arida) has disk flowers with much smaller lobes, and it is found in desert areas in the western half of Arizona.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Carphochaete A. Gray – bristlehead
Species: Carphochaete bigelovii A. Gray – Bigelow's bristlehead

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map