Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Hoffmannseggia glauca, Indian Rushpea

Indian Rushpea has medium size but showy flowers. Note that the flowers are not perfectly radially symmetrical. Hoffmannseggia glauca Indian Rushpea has mostly yellow flowers with some orange and they fade to red or orange-reddish when mature. Indian Rushpea blooms from April to September across its range. Hoffmannseggia glauca Indian Rushpea has bi-pinnately compound leaves each leaf containing between 4 and 13 leaflets. Leaves are glabrous or with minutely soft erect hairs as in the photo. Hoffmannseggia glauca Indian Rushpea or Hog Potato grows up to a foot or so but often id a low-growing plant whose flowering stalks usually grow upward. This plant grows up to 5,000 feet in elevation. Hoffmannseggia glauca

Scientific Name: Hoffmannseggia glauca
Common Name: Indian Rushpea
Also Called: Hog Potato, Pignut, Shoestring Weed, Spanish: Camote de Ratón)
Family: Fabaceae or Leguminosae Family
Synonyms: (Hoffmannseggia densiflora, Hoffmannseggia densiflora var. capitata, Hoffmannseggia densiflora var. demissa, Hoffmannseggia densiflora var. pringlei, Hoffmannseggia densiflora var. stricta, Hoffmannseggia falcaria, Hoffmannseggia falcaria var. stricta, Larrea glauca)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: 12 inches or usually less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; plants low growing and erect; deep tuberous roots; plants typically grow in patches.
Leaves: Green; bipinnate, 4 to 13 leaflets; leaves are glabrous or or minutely puberulous.
Flower Color: Yellow, with orange and red; inflorescence a raceme often above leaves; flowering stalk glandular, flower petals 5, spreading; flowers not perfectly radially-symmetrical; fruits curved.
Flowering Season: April to September; April to June in California.
Elevation: Below 5,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Dry alkaline desert soils, roadsides, irrigation areas, disturbed areas.

Recorded Range: Indian Rushpea is found mostly in the southwestern United States in; AZ, CA, CO, KS, NM, NV OK, TX, UT. It is also native to Baja California and Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Hoffmannseggia glauca.

U.S. Weed Information: In North America Hoffmannseggia glauca can be weedy or invasive according to State noxious weed lists for 46 states and the following authoritative sources: Weeds of the United States and Canada. Weeds of the West. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: In North America Hoffmannseggia glauca is listed as a Noxious Weed by the state of Kansas. Plants included here are invasive or noxious.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Hoffmannseggia glauca has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FACU; Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, FAC; Great Plains, FAC; Midwest, FACU; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FACU.
FACU = Facultative Upland, usually occur in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands
FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: No information available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 7 species and 7 accepted taxa overall for Hoffmannseggia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 29 accepted species names and a further 18 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 3 species of genus, California has 2 species, Nevada has 1 species, New Mexico has 3 species, Texas has 5 species, Utah has 1 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: In Southwest Desert Flora also see: Wand Holdback, Hoffmannseggia microphylla.

Hoffmannseggia has been used for food and traded by southwestern United States indigenous peoples.
  • Apache Food, Unspecified; Potatoes roasted and eaten much more commonly in the past than currently.
  • Apache, Chiricahua & Mescalero Food, Unspecified; Roots eaten either raw or cooked.
  • Pima Food, Vegetable; Tubers boiled and eaten like potatoes.
  • Pueblo Food, Unspecified; Potatoes roasted and eaten much more commonly in the past than currently.
  • Pima, Gila River Food, Unspecified; Tubers eaten.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.
    Date Profile Completed: 04/12/2017, updated format 10/12/2017
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California, as Hoffmannseggia densiflora.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 04/12/2017)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 04/12/2017).
    Beryl B. Simpson 2017. Hoffmannseggia glauca, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 12, 2017.
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 04/12/2017]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information - (accessed 04/12/2017).