Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 14: 294. 1879.
Plants perennial, acaulescent or nearly so, usually cespitose. Leaves: petiole 1–5 cm; blade elliptic to lanceolate, shortly ovate, or oblong-ovate, (0.4–)0.5–2.5 × (0.2–)0.4–1.2 cm, less than 3 times as long as wide, margins entire or ± repand and undulate, surfaces glabrous or glandular-pubescent. Inflorescences: bracts lanceolate to ovate, 4–9 × 2–7 mm, scarious, glandular-puberulent, often minutely so; flowers 15–25. Perianth: tube pale pink, 8–30 mm, limb white to pink, 6–10 mm diam. Fruits obovate to obcordate in profile, 6–10 × 5–7 mm, scarious, apex low and broadly conic; wings 5, without dilations, without cavities.
Ariz., Calif., Colo., Nev., Utah
Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).
Abronia nana is a highly variable species. Perhaps contraction of the range of A. nana during the Pleistocene left isolated populations that have since diverged. This is especially apparent on the southern edge of the range of the species. In northeastern Arizona, densely tufted plants with very small blades are similar to short-leaved plants of A. bigelovii from north-central New Mexico.
Based on the fruits, the taxon described as Abronia nana var. harrisii S. L. Welsh is A. elliptica.