Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Chrysactinia mexicana, Damianita

Damianita is a native perennial species that blooms from April through September in New Mexico, Texas and northern Mexico. Chrysactinia mexicana Damianita is a low-growing subshrub or small shrub with a woody base and erect stems. Plants are dense, twiggy and bushy. Chrysactinia mexicana Damianita grows up to about 1 or 2 feet and just as wide. It has dark green leaves, very small, evergreen, alternate, pinnate and mostly smooth with aromatic oil-glands.  Chrysactinia mexicana Damianita is called by many other names such as Hierba de San Nicolas, Mariola, Romerill and San Nicolas to name a few, especially in northern Mexico. Grows in elevations from 600 to 7,000 feet and is found in desert plains and mountains in heavy limestone and caliche soils (but also sandy soils). Chrysactinia mexicana

Scientific Name: Chrysactinia mexicana
Common Name: Damianita

Also Called: Calanca, Damianita Daisy, False Damiana, Garanona, Mariola, Romerillo, San Nicolas, Spanish; Yeyepaxtle, Hierba de San Nicolas

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Status: Native

Synonyms: ()

Duration: Perennial

Size: 1½ to 2 feet (46-61 cm) or so, width to 2 feet (61 cm).

Growth Form: Shrub or subshrub; low-growing; strongly aromatic; woody base, plants mounded, rounded in form.

Leaves: Green, or dark green; leaves small, fine, less than 1 inch (2.54 cm); evergreen; aromatic; twiggy; fine needle-like leaves; plants leafy.

Flower Color: Yellow or golden yellow; the leafy foliage apparent throughout the plant is absent on the peduncle; single (solitary) heads; flowers on tips of branches, both ray (florets slender, typically 8 per head (6 to 12) and discoid (florets 20 or more); fruit small, a cypsela.

Flowering Season: April through September (Spring and Fall).

Elevation: 600 to 7,000 feet (182-2,100 m).

Habitat Preferences: Desert plains and mountains of NM and TX, mostly rocky limestone and caliche soils, sandy soils.

Recorded Range: Chrysactinia mexicana is a relatively rare species in the United States, with distribution limited to NM and TX. It is also found in northwest Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Chrysactinia mexicana.

North America species range map for Chrysactinia mexicana:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Chrysactinia mexicana: North America species range map for Chaetopappa ericoides: North America species range map for Chaenactis xantiana: North America species range map for Chaenactis stevioides: North America species range map for Chaenactis carphoclinia: North America species range map for Centaurea solstitialis: North America species range map for Centaurea melitensis: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: No data available.
Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: In North America there is 1 species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Chrysactinia. World wide, The Plant List includes 6 accepted species names for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States there is 1 species of Chrysactinia in NM and TX.

Comments: Chrysactinia mexicana or Damianita as it is commonly called in the United States is limited in distribution to rocky limestone and caliche soils in New Mexico and Texas.

Because it has a long blooming period and extremely heat and drought tolerance it is often used as a landscape specimen where sold and in the Phoenix and Tucson area. With proper care it has grow into a showy rounded form which is attractive in rock and other specialty gardens.

You can usually see Damianita on display at the Arizona Desert Botanical Gardens in east Phoenix, Arizona.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Tiny seeds of Chrysactinia mexicana may possibly be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Chrysactinia mexicana flowers may be visited by butterflies, bees and other small insects.

Etymology:
The genus Chrysactinia from the Greek chrysos, "gold," and actinos, "ray", flower characteristics.

The species epithet mexicana (mexica'na/mexica'num/mexican'us:) means of or from Mexico.

The common name Damianita is Spanish and loosely translates to “hierba de san nicolas”, “yéyepaxtle”, “sannicolás” and “mariola”, the above listed Spanish names for this species.

Ethnobotany
No information available.

Date Profile Completed: 8/10/2014; updated 06/13/2020
References:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 06/13/2020)
https://plants.usda.gov/java/ClassificationServlet?source=profile&symbol=CHRYS&display=31
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; http://www.theplantlist.org/ (accessed 06/13/2020).
http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Compositae/Chrysactinia/
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013).
Published on the Internet http://www.wildflower.org/plants/ [accessed 8/10/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CHME3
John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Chrysactinia, 319. Chrysactinia A. Gray, Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 93. 1849. and (etymology information, 06/13/2020) 319. Chrysactinia A. Gray, Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 93. 1849. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet - (accessed 06/13/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=CHME3
Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde: (accessed: 06/12/2020)
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/ornamentals/nativeshrubs/chrysactiniamexica.htm
Wikipedia contributors, 'Chrysactinia mexicana', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 8 November 2019, 21:38 UTC,
https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chrysactinia_mexicana&oldid=925255891 [accessed 13 June 2020]
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
http://swbiodiversity.org/seinet/
Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 06/13/2020)
http://www.calflora.net/botanicalnames/pageCA-CH.html