Herbs, perennial, sometimes annual, sparingly glandular puberulent to spreading viscid-villous. Stems often reddish, 0.1-1.5 m. Leaves progressively reduced distally; distal leaves proportionately narrower than proximal; larger leaves: petiole 2-25 mm, equaling or shorter than blade; blade usually flat, sometimes undulate, 20-65 × 10-35 mm, base often oblique, obtuse, or round, margins entire or sinuate, apex acute, sometimes obtuse or round. Inflorescences: peduncle 3-25(-30) mm, involucres ovoid when mature, 4-6.5(-9) mm. Perianth deep pink to magenta, 5-15 mm. Fruits deeply convex, 2.9-4.7 × 1.5-2.8 mm; lateral ribs with 0-4 teeth, teeth usually broadly (rarely narrowly) triangular, never gland tipped, or edge of fruit wings entire or with only irregular undulations and incisions, concave side of fruit with 4-7 glands per row (glands rarely continuous or 2 rows glandless); stalks equaling or shorter than diameter of glandular head. Allionia incarnata was used by indigenous peoples to treat swellings, was added to baths to reduce fever, and also prepared as a decoction to treat diarrhea and kidney ailments (S. Cheatham et al. 1995, vol. 1). Occasionally fruits of A. incarnata are shallowly convex and resemble, in this respect, the fruits of A. choisyi.
Wiggins 1964, FNA 2003, Kearney and Peebles 1969, Heil et al. 2013
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Sprawling, short-lived perennial (occasionally annual) herb from a taproot, dying back to the root during drought; stems 40-120 cm long, prostrate and trailing along the ground; herbage glandular-hairy and sticky-viscid, often with sand sticking to it. Leaves: Opposite, on petioles 2-35 mm long; blades 2-6 cm long, oval to broadly rounded-triangular, with an asymmetric base; leaf margins slightly undulate (wavy) and often tinted whitish or reddish. Flowers: Pink-purple, located in leaf axils on peduncles 4-26 mm long; each set of 3 flowers is so tightly clustered that it appears to be a single radially symmetrical flower; each flower in the set of 3 is strongly bilaterally symmetrical, with 3 large lower petals that point to the outside of the cluster, with each of the petals shallowly 2-lobed; petals pink to magenta. Fruits: Achenes 3-5 mm long, the inner side 3-nerved and the margins often with 3-5 broad, incurved teeth. Ecology: Found in sandy or rocky soil; below 6,000 ft (1829 m); flowers April-October. Distribution: s CA, s NV, s UT, AZ, s CO, NM, s OK, TX; south to s MEX, and in S. Amer. Notes: This common trailing perennial is densely hairy; the showy, magenta "flowers" are actually three separate flowers snugged together, arising from fused bracts (involucre); the fruits are hard and have claws or teeth that bend over a cavity. Var. villosa, found at lower elevations in desert habitats, has a larger flower cluster, 20-25 mm in diameter; var. incarnata, which is more widespread, has a smaller flower cluster, 5-10 mm in diameter. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Allionia honors Carlo Allioni (1725-1804), an Italian botanist; incarnata means flesh-colored, alluding to the pink flowers. Synonyms: Allionia craterimorpha Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2017