WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

The distinctive fern-like leaves and bright purple flower heads with gold centers of this clumping, mounding 1-foot tall plant demand attention. Note the deeply dissected leaf lobes have spiny tips. This easily-naturalized flower makes a colorful addition to home landscapes.


FLOWERS: May-September. Purple to violet, 1–2-inch wide (25–50 mm) flower heads have 12-40 petal-like ray flowers 3/8–3/4 inch long (8-20 mm) surrounding the tiny, yellow flowers in the central disk; tips of phyllaries beneath the florets curl backwards (reflexed).


LEAVES: Alternate. Blades deeply dissected and fern-like, 1/3-4 1/2 inches long (8-110 mm) to 1 1/2 inches wide (38 mm); lobes with bristle tips, surfaces moderately hairy.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly, riparian soils, roadsides; desert grasslands and scrub, pinion-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,500-8,100 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CA, CO, IL, KS, MT, NE, NV, NM, NY, OK, SD, TX, UT, WY; Canada.


SIMILAR SPECIES: Mesa Tansy Aster, M. tagentia, in southern NM borderlands, has phyllary tips held flat against the flower base. Small-flowered Tansy Aster, Arida parviflora, in the western half of NM, has smaller leaves (1 inch, 2.5 cm long) with tiny pointed lobes, but without bristle tips, and flower heads with smaller disks (1/2 inch, 13 mm diameter).


NM COUNTIES: Statewide in low- to mid-elevation arid habitats.

TANSY  ASTER, TAHOKA  DAISY

MACHAERANTHERA  TANACETIFOLIA

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Annual herb

Phyllaries have tips curled backwards (reflexed).

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Deeply dissected leaves have lobes with bristle tips.

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