Common Name: Ratany, Littleleaf Ratany Family: Krameriaceae, Ratany family
Duration: Perennial Size: Up to 3 feet. Growth Form: Shrub/subshrub; root parasite, erect or ascending, tangled or intricately branched, branches tapered to a sharp-point, branches gray, new stems with variable pubescence strigose, canescent or with silky hairs, bark striped with ridges (striate), . Leaves: Green or gray-green; alternate, sessile, exstipulate, inconspicuous, linear or linear-lanceolate, fuzzy with dense hairs, margins entire. Flower Color: Pink, reddish, rose, magenta or violet sepals; small showy flowers, sepals cupped, pink, flag petal with claw, petals 5 glandular pink, triangular, bright pink, 3 upper petals erect, glandular, lower petals glandular, 4 showy stamens, petals and sepals strigose, buds ovate and barely curved, flowers bilateral, fruit heart-shaped, compressed, spine may be scattered with barbs however there is not a hooked barb on the tips of the spines.
Flowering Season: Various times throughout the year. Spring and fall with adequate rain more likely.
Comments: Littleleaf Ratany is an inconspicuous intricately branch subshrub. The root system is shallow, with 40 percent of the root mass in the top 4 inches of the soil, and spreads horizontally and radially. Krameria species are root parasites surviving when the soil is dry by taking nutrients and water from adjacent plants. They also photosynthesize. Krameria have an unusual pollination arrangement as the flowers provide oil, not nectar to visiting female bees of the genus Centris. These bees possess adaptations for carrying floral oils as well as pollen and nectar. The oil, mixed with pollen is used to feed their larvae.