|White Ratany (Krameria grayi)|
DESCRIPTION: Shrub to 3'. Branches gray. Stems are spineless but taper to a sharp point. Leaves are inconspicuous, simple, smooth-edged to lobed, grayish-green, haired to 1/2" long. Flowers bloom April - Oct. and are violet, with 5 petals. Fruit is fuzzy greenish-white ball with barbed spines. White Ratany has barbs only on the tips of fruit spines whereas Range Ratany (K. erecta) has barbs along entire fruit spine. Krameriaceae (Ratany) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: Ratany photosynthesize, but they also parasitize the roots of other plants (esp. Triangleleaf Bursage and Creosote Bush) (partial parasite). Ratany offer their bee pollinators oil instead of nectar. The oil bees (Centris) acquire nectar from other plants, but scrape off the oil from ratany to combine with pollen from other plants to feed their larvae.