Prince's Plume

Common Names:
Prince's Plume
Scientific name:
Stanleya pinnata
Subspecies | Variants:
Stanleya elata
Elevation range:
200-8,750 ft.
Flowering Months:
April, May, June, July, August, September
Height | Length:
1-5 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Perennial
Notes:
TOXIC
Ancestral Usage:
food
State Occurrences:
Parks & Preserves:
Desert region:
Chihuahuan, Great Basin, Mojave, Sonoran
Comments: 

Prince's Plume is an indicator of selenium in the soil, and the plant may concentrate this element in its stem and leaves. Heavy doses of selenium are toxic but trace quantities are an essential nutrient for humans. Native Americans and pioneers consumed this plant after boiling it.

Named for Lord Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby

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Princes Plume in the desert

Flowers of Stanleya pinnata have greenish-yellow sepals, and bright yellow flowers with 4 petals. Stamens are exserted and reach 1.5 inches in length. Pipes Canyon, CA | April 2015

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Princes Plume  in the desert

Stanleya pinnata is a perennial plant with many long racemes densely packed with flowers. It grows to about 5 ft. in height. Pipes Canyon, CA | May 2010

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Princes Plume in the desert

Leaves of Stanleya pinnata have petioles (leaf stems) up to 6 in. long with fleshy, pinnately arranged leaflets. Pipes Canyon, CA | April 16, 2015

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Princes Plume in the desert

Stanleya pinnata is a good food source for many insects. It is a member of the Brassicaceae (Mustard) family. Rainbow Basin Natural Area, CA | April 2014

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Princes Plume in the desert

This Stanleya pinnata individual is growing out of another shrub here. Basal leaves are hidden by stems and foliage. Rainbow Basin Natural Area, CA | April 2014