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, False Damiana, Garanona, Hierba de San Nicolas, Mariola, Romerillo, San Nicolas, Spanish; Yeyepaxtle Hierba de San Nicolas, False Damiana, Mariola, Romerillo, Garanona, San Nicolas, Calanca, Yeyepaxtle
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Status: Native
Synonyms: ()
Duration: Perennial
Size: 1½ to 2 feet or so, width to 2 feet.
Growth Form: Shrub or subshrub; low-growing; stems erect; dense twiggy, bushy, woody base, rounded in form.
Leaves: Green, or dark green; many very small leaves, less than 1 inch; evergreen; alternate; pinnate; mostly glabrous; oil-glands present; aromatic.
Flower Color: Yellow or golden yellow; the leafy foliage apparent throughout the plant is absent on the peduncle; heads solitary; small, radiate; ray florets slender, typically 8 per head (6 to 12), disk florets 20 or more; phyllaries persistent; fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: April through September.
Elevation: 600 to 7,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Desert plains and mountains of NM and TX, mostly rocky limestone and caliche but also in 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.

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. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

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.

Date Profile Completed: 8/10/2014; Updated, 07/25/2015, updated 10/25/2017
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 10/20/2017)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 10/20/2017).
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013).
Published on the Internet [accessed 8/10/2014]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Chrysactinia, 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.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center at Uvalde: (accessed: 10/20/2017)
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information, (accessed 10/20/2017).