Allionia incarnata

Trailing Windmills - Allionia incarnata
Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2016

The photographs of Allionia incarnata, Trailing Windmills, shown in this post were taken on August 29, 2016 in Hillsboro.  There is something about this flower which makes it quite exotic and is not readily apparent - each of the blooms you see in the photographs are in fact three blooms, each of which is bilaterally symmetric and bloom at the same time.  Each flower is composed of three petals, since they bloom at the same time and are immediately adjacent, they give the appearance of one flower.  There are two species in the genus Allionia and both share this characteristic and both have paired leaves of uneven sizes along the stem.

The genus, Allionia, is named in honor of Carlo Allioni, an Italian botanist and professor of botany at Turin.  He was also director of the Turin Botanical Garden.

The range of Allionia incarnata, in the United States, is shown in the BONAP map to the right.  The species is found southward through the West Indies, Central America, and South America.

As noted above, there are two species in this genus, the other is Allionia choisyi, which looks quite similiar but the flowers are generally paler and smaller (distinguishing between the two requires an inspection of their fruit).  Allionia choisyi is found in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States and southward through Mexico into South America.

A scientific synonym for Allionia incarnata is Wedelia incarnata.  English Common Names for the species include Pink Three-Flower, Pink Windmills, Trailing Allionia, Trailing Four-O’clock, Trailing Windmills, and Umbrella-wort.

Edward Mearns collected the specimen shown below on April 17, 1892 as part of the Mexican Boundary Survey.  It was collected in the Carrizalillo Mountains of New Mexico (west of Columbus and south of Highway 9).  This location is also called the Carrizalillo Hills because their elevation is only 5,253’.


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© Robert Barnes 2018