Cevallia sinuata 

Stinging Serpent - Cevallia sinuata
Trail to Opportunity Mine
East of Hillsboro, NM, USA
August 8, 2015

On August 8 we were lucky enough to find several specimens of Stinging Serpent, Cevallia sinuata, in various stages of flowering.  In several of the photographs an open flower is seen as well as other flowers in bud.  This is a nocturnal blooming species, so it is quite rare to find blooming plants.  In some of these images, the flowers have gone (are going) to seed.  Note the spines on the leaves in the images.  The hairs of this species inflict a painful experience when encountered but are said to “stab” rather than irritate the skin.

The genus is monotypic and there are no described subspecies of Stinging Serpent.  The species was first described by the Spanish botanist Mariano Lagasca.

This species generally grows between the elevations of 2,500’ and 5,000’ on dry slopes and mesas.  It has a range limited to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States and extends into the northern part of Mexico.  Light green means that the species is native and not rare in the county indicated.

The specimen shown below was collected by Edgar Mearns in 1892 as part of his efforts in support of the International Boundary Commission of the United States and Mexico.




© Robert Barnes 2018-2023