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White Ratany, White Krameria, Chacate, Gray's Krameria, Crimson Beak
Krameria grayi


Like K. erecta, white krameria is a low shrub to about 3 feet high and wide that is common in desert scrub throughout the Trans-Pecos, and west to California and south into Mexico. Its slender, thorny stems are more noticeable than the tiny leaves; they emerge whitish and hairy and mature to be smooth and gray. The small reddish-purple flowers are borne profusely in the late spring and also in the fall if soil moisture is high. K. grayi and K. erecta are very similar in appearance, and can be distinguished by the recurved sepals, separate petals and inside orange glandlike petals in the former. Although ratanies photosynthize, they are parasitic on the roots of other plants for nutrients. The flowers produce oil instead of nectar, and attract bees with hind legs specialized for scraping it up. Krameria is very drought resistant and is an excellent browse plant. The root bark is reported to be used for a red dye in basketmaking, and portions of the plant have been used medicinally in treating sores.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: purple

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: barbed pod with one seed

Height: to 3 feet

Width: to 3 feet

Plant Character: deciduous

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: adaptable

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7

Additional Comments:

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