WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 
 

Though only forming 2-inch high mats, this early blooming dwarf stands out with a mass of showy, daisy-like flowers that sometimes hide the leaves. Note the long white ray flowers and densely hairy yellow disk. The flowers bloom early, around Easter, giving the plant its common name.


FLOWER: March-May. Stemless flowers nestle on a crowded rosette of leaves. The 1–1 1/2-inch wide (25–38 mm) flower heads have 11–40 petal-like, white to pinkish ray flowers, each 1/2–7/8-inch long (12–22 mm). The yellow disk flowers are densely surrounded by pappus bristles as long as the disk flowers. The phyllaries, in 4–6 rows at the base of the flower cup, taper to a point and are soft.


LEAVES: Basal rosette. Leaves linear to slightly spatula-shaped (tips wider that base), 1/2–2-inches long (12–50 mm), to 1/4-inch wide (2–6 mm); top and bottom surfaces covered with tiny, white hairs that lie flat.


HABITAT: Sandy, gravelly soils; pinyon-juniper, ponderosa, yellow pine-oak forests.


ELEVATION: 4,100–8,900 feet.


RANGE: AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, NV, UT, TX, WY.


SIMILAR SPECIES: 10 species of Townsend daisies in NM. The stemless look-alike Slender Townsend Daisy, T. leptotes, in nw NM, has narrow (2 mm wide) leaves. Silvery Townsend Daisy, T. incana, in w. and nw NM, is mat-forming with short, densely hairy stems and leaves.


NM COUNTIES: Nearly statewide except se plains (not reported from Chaves, Lea, Luna cos.) in low- to mid-elevation, wooded habitats.

STEMLESS  EASTER  DAISY

TOWNSENDIA  EXSCAPA

Aster Family, Asteraceae

Perennial herb

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Disk flowers have long, white pappus bristles long as the yellow florets.

Flowers grow from root crown with no stems formed.

Basal rosette dense with leaves  to 1/4-inch wide and linear to spatula-shaped (tips slightly wider than base).

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