Brandegea is a monotypic genus containing the single species Brandegea bigelovii, the desert starvine. This sprawling perennial vine in the squash family is native to the deserts of California, Arizona, and northern Mexico. The distinctive small, dark-green leaves are variable in shape but are usually a deeply lobed long-fingered palmate shape. They are heavily speckled with white oil glands. The vine bears tendrils, tiny five-pointed white flowers only 2 or 3 millimeters wide, and small, dry, prickly fruits 5 or 6 millimeters in length and holding a single seed. The plant grows from a deep taproot.
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