Xylorhiza tortifolia (Torrey & A. Gray) E. Greene var. tortifolia

Desert Aster
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


Desert aster is a suffrutescent much-branched perennial with stems and herbage that is tomentose at least when young.  The leaves are alternate, linear to lanceolate, sessile, coarsely spine-toothed and with a leathery texture and a spine-tipped apex.  The large and showy flowers are light blue to lavender to almost white, and are solitary on the ends of leafless peduncles that are 3"-9" long.  There are 40-60 ray flowers and 70-110 yellow disk flowers on each head.  Also called Mojave aster, it was at one time or another in genera Aplopappus and Machaeranthera.  Desert aster blooms from March to May and also in October.  It may be found on dry rocky slopes and in washes and canyons of the Mojave and northern Colorado Deserts from 2000' to 5500', and ranges from Riverside Co. to the White Mts.  It is very common in Joshua Tree National Park.  These pictures were taken at the Mission Creek Preserve near the Morongo Pass and at Joshua Tree National Park.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Xylorhiza 2) tortifolia.
Pronunciation: zy-lo-RI-za tor-ti-FO-lee-a.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.


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