WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

With 7 varieties in NM, this highly variable species can have variable stem height, leaf base shape, number of flower heads, and number of  petal-like ray florets. A single plant can form a bushy clump with 50+ stems 6–16-inches tall and wide. Note the densely hairy leaves and stems and solid yellow flower heads.


FLOWERS: May–October. Dense arrays of 1–1 1/2-inch wide (25–38 mm), lemon-yellow flower heads with 10–20 petal-like ray florets, 1/4–1/2-inch long (6–12 mm), surround a center of yellow disk flowers; phyllaries beneath the ray flowers are stacked in 4–5 rows, pointed and often reddish tipped.


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades 3/8–1-inch long (10–25 mm), lance-shaped to oblong, stemless with rounded to tapering bases, blunt to pointed tip; surfaces gray-green, rough, hairy; margins flat with no teeth, lined with ciliate to flat-lying hairs.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils; sand dunes, desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa-oak, Douglas fir forests.


ELEVATION: 4,000–10,500 feet.


RANGE: Widespread in all states west of the Missouri River.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The look-alike Gray Golden Aster, H. canescens (see photo), widespread in similar habitats, has leaves lined with long, silky hairs and spreads by rhizomes to form colonies. Stiff-leaf Golden Aster, H. stenophylla, in the plains of eastern NM counties, has stems crowded with 1–2-inch long, narrow leaves with hairy margins and pointed tips.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide in mid-to high-elevation habitats: Bernalillo, Catron, Chaves, Cibola, Colfax, Curry, Dona Ana, Eddy, Grant, Harding, Hidalgo, Guadalupe, Lea, Lincoln, Los Alamos, McKinley, Mora, Otero, Rio Arriba, Roosevelt, San Juan, San Miguel, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Sierra, Socorro, Taos, Torrance, Union, Valencia.

HAIRY  GOLDEN-ASTER

HETEROTHECA  VILLOSA

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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Left: Stacked rows of hairy, red-tipped phyllaries.

Right: Stem and leaves covered with rough hairs and longer, soft hairs.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Gray Golden-Aster, Heterothica canescens, has leaves lined with long, silky hairs.

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