Red-orange fruited plant in Zion NP/Utah

Minneapolis, MN

I was hiking in Zion National Park last week (June 27-29) and came across a number of these lovely plants. All were on the Pa'rus Trail, which is a fairly flat upland-type desert... LOTS of sun and heat, and pretty darn dry. (Other plants in the area included silverleaf nightshade, buffalo gourd, netleaf hackberry, prickly pear cactus and all sorts of grasses, in case that helps anyone identify the community in which this plant was growing).

At the time I saw it, I thought it might be some sort of daphne, but I've looked that plant up and this doesn't quite fit (nor is it supposed to grow in the wild in Utah). I would stake my reputation that this plant was not deliberately planted, as it is far from any habitation (although the seeds might have been carried in on someone's hiking boots... but there were quite a few of these).

I am attaching a photo... I have lots more if it would be helpful. Ideas, anyone?

Teresa

Thumbnail by batscanner
Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

I have no idea. Did you post this in the Plant ID forum as well? If not, you should.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

This looks like one of the Arctostaphylos spp., like a Manzanita or Bearberry that might inhabit the arid southwest environment.

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

I shoulda known that. I'm on a manzanita kick here lately. :-p

Minneapolis, MN

Hi again--

VV, thanks for the idea, but I can't find an Arctostaphylos that fits this one. I'm attaching another photo showing a bell-like cap on the berries... I've not seen that on any Arctostaphylos. Also, the berries on "my" plant are kind of pointed at the bottom rather than round, and that seems unusual for Arctostaphylos. Kildawabbit, if your "manzanita kick" turns up any species with this cap, and the slightly pointed berries, let me know... I'm all ears! I will also take your advice and post my pix to the plant ID forum.

Teresa

Thumbnail by batscanner
Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

That looks like a Bearberry I tasted yesterday. Didn't notice if there was a cap like that. I bet it could still be an Arctostaphylos. Have you tasted the berries?

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

Which, BTW. That berry I tasted had a huge pit. Almost as big as a cherry pit. I thought all Ericaceaes would have dust-like seeds. :-p

Minneapolis, MN

Hi again--

I think I have solved this. User "Resin" on the Plant ID forum suggested it might be a Lycium of some sort. My research is not complete, but I believe that it is Lycium pallidum, pale desert thorn. I've seen Lycium barbarum, which is similar but not quite the same; I didn't make the connection until Resin pointed it out. That cap at the top, and the slightly pointed berry, are pretty distinctive. Plus, upon further examination of the other photos, I see that it does have thorns, which L. pallidum (and most Lycium) does have... they are largely hidden by the abundant greenery and did not show in the photos I posted.

I've seen bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and that seems to grow as a low, almost mat-like plant when I see it. The shrub at Zion was definitely a woody shrub, chest- to shoulder-high depending on which one I was looking at. (There are a number of them on the Pa'rus Trail at Zion National Park.) I've sampled bearberries; they were quite bland and rather mealy--and yes, the stone is pretty big! Definitely not something I'd forage for.

Thanks for the input!

Teresa

Christiana, TN(Zone 6b)

I was saying it might be in the Manzanita family not a Bearberry per se. Probably Lycium though.

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