Heterotheca sessiliflora (Nutt.) Shinn. ssp. fastigiata (E. Greene)

Erect Golden-Aster
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)


Erect golden-aster is a leafy, many-branched perennial shrub growing to about 3' tall. The alternate leaves are very wavy-margined, crowded, slightly whitish, ± stiff and ascending, and are linear-oblong to elliptic, mucronate-tipped and covered with silky appressed hairs.  There are few to many radiate flowering heads in clusters at the tips of branchlets, with many linear, hispid-hirsute phyllaries in several series and generally less than ten yellow ray flowers and 20-40 yellow disk flowers.  The style branches of the disk flowers are papillate, and there is a well-developed pappus of bristles often exceeding the corolla tube.  The ovary is covered with tiny silky hairs.  There are several subspecies of H. sessiliflora that grow in Southern California, and this is a highly variable species.  Ssp. fastigiata is found on dry slopes, grasslands and sandy places in coastal sage scrub and chaparral to an elevation of perhaps 7000' or so in the Transverse Range, the central Peninsular Range and the San Jacintos, blooming from July to November.  This species used to be called Chrysopsis villosa which gave rise to its older common name 'hairy golden-aster.'   The first three pictures were taken in the parking area at the Mt. Baldy Ski Lift, and the last two along the Lower Clamshell Motorway in the hills above Monrovia.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Heterotheca 2) sessiliflora 3) fastigiata.
Pronunciation: het-er-o-THEE-ka seh-si-li-FLOR-a fas-ti-jee-AY-ta.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.