|Range Ratany (Krameria erecta)|
DESCRIPTION: Shrub to 1.5'. Branches gray. Stems are spineless but taper to a sharp point. Leaves are inconspicuous, simple, smooth-edged to lobed, narrow, 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. Range Ratany has barbs along the spines of the fruit whereas White Ratany (K. grayi) has barbs only at tip of fruit spines. Krameriaceae (Ratany) Family.
NATURAL HISTORY: Ratany photosynthesize, but they also parasitize the roots of other plants (esp. Triangleaf 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.