WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Masses of bright, yellow flowers cover this rounded, 4–20-inch tall and wide, woolly, gray-green plant with numerous densely branching stems. Note the 3–5 oval ray flowers, erect yellow disk flowers, and cobwebby hairs on the foliage.


FLOWER: April–September. The 1/2–1-inch wide (12–25 mm) flower heads bloom on 1/2–3/4-inch long (12–20 mm) stems. The 3–5 petal-like, oval ray flowers surround 6–9 protruding, erect, tubular, yellow disk flowers. Each ray is tipped with 3 rounded, shallow lobes. After blooming, the yellow ray flowers dry to a paper-like texture. 


LEAVES: Basal rosette of spatula-shaped leaves to 4-inches long (10 cm) with entire to lobed margins. Stem leaves alternate and become smaller upward. Woolly, gray-green hairs cover the entire plant, which is toxic to livestock.


HABITAT: Dry gravelly, sandy soils, roadsides, disturbed areas; desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper woodlands.


ELEVATION: 3,100–7,800 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, NM, TX, UT.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 4 look-alike paper flowers in NM with minute differences. Woolly Paperflower, P. villosa, in the ne plains, has 1/4–3/8-inch wide (6–9 mm) flowers on 1/8-inch long (1–3 mm) flower stems. Greenstem Paperflower, P. sparsifolia, in nw NM, has stiff, flat-lying (not cobwebby) hairs. Whitestem Paperflower, P. cooperi, in Chaves, Hidalgo, Grant cos., reaches 2-feet tall and wide with whitish stems and flower heads with 3–6 rays. Plains Zinnia, Zinnia grandiflora, statewide, has 1/16-inch wide (2 mm) leaves, petals without notches, an orange-red center, and forms dense, rounded clumps to 8-inches tall and wide.


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

WOOLLY  PAPERFLOWER

PSILOSTROPHE  TAGETINA

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Biennial/perennial herb

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Woolly, gray-green hairs cover the stem and leaves.

Valles Canyon, Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument.

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