The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

plants of the florilegium

Calliandra eriophylla with Cottisa gracilis
Fairy duster and Janusia vine


FAMILY:  Malpighiaceae — Malpighia family

SYNONYMS:  Janusia gracilis

OTHER COMMON NAMES:  Slender Janusia

ETYMOLOGY:  The genus Cottsia is an anagram based on the name of Scottish botanist George Francis Scott Elliot (1862–1934).

The species name derives from the Latin gracile, or 'slender'.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE:  Found from southern AZ to western TX, into northern Mexico

HABITAT:  Dry, rocky slopes and arroyos, 1,000-5,000'

BLOOMING SEASON:  Blooms April to October, depending on rainfall

DESCRIPTION:  Perennial twining vine, 2' tall when unsupported but climbing to 10' when supported by other plants.

Mutualistic associations: New World plants in the Malpighia family have oil-producing glands on the undersides of the petals and offer this oil to pollinators instead of nectar. Oil-collecting bees with specialized hind legs scrape up the oil from these glands and return it to their hives where it is mixed with pollen to feed the larvae or used as protective lining for the brood cells.