Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Geraea canescens, Hairy Desertsunflower

Hairy Desertsunflower has showy large heads of gold yellow flowers, either solitary or in multiple clusters. Geraea canescensHairy Desertsunflower may be in large numbers or a few individuals in direct proportion to rainfall. In dry years, Hairy Desertsunflower may bloom at 2 or 3 inches tall while in wet years these plants may reach 30 inches or more. Geraea canescensHairy Desertsunflower or Desert Gold has bright green alternate leaves (with or without a small stem) covered in a bristly pubescence, stems are singles or in multiple branches. Geraea canescensHairy Desertsunflower has gray-green leaves with tooth-like margins. This species blooms from January to June in Arizona and from February to May and again from October to November in California. Geraea canescens

Scientific Name: Geraea canescens
Common Name: Hairy Desertsunflower
Also Called: Desert Gold, Desert Sunflower, Desertgold
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Encelia eriocephala var. paniculata, Geraea canescens var. canescens, Geraea canescens var. paniculata)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual.
Size: Up to 30 inches more or less.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; plants bristly or soft-hairy; single stems or branches.
Leaves: Green or brown; alternate; ciliate, hirsute or bristly pubescence; petiolate or sessile; shape variable lanceolate or ovate to elliptic or oblanceolate, margins dentate.
Flower Color: Yellow; showy large heads; flowers radiate; solitary or many in panicles; phyllaries green with viably white-ciliate; fruit strongly compressed achenes.
Flowering Season: January to June in Arizona; February to May and again in October to November in California.
Elevation: 3,000 feet or lower; below 4,000 in California.

Habitat Preferences: Common in sandy desert soils.

Recorded Range: Geraea canescens is found in the southwestern United States in AZ, CA, NV, UT. It is also native to Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. In Arizona it is found in the western and southwestern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Geraea canescens.

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

Genus Information: In North America there are 2 species and 2 accepted taxa overall for . World wide, The Plant List includes 2 accepted species names and includes a further 4 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, Nevada and Utah each have 1 species of Geraea, California has 2 species and New Mexico and Texas have 0 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Geraea canescens is a Mojave and Colorado Sonoran Desert species with high tolerances to alkaline soils. This species is known to hybridize with Encelia farinosa.

In Southwest Desert Flora see Brittlebush, Encelia farinosa.

Date Profile Completed: 11/25/2016, updated format 10/10/2017
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 11/24/2016)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 11/24/2016).
Gary I. Baird, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Geraea | Geraea canescens Torrey & A. Gray, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 1: 49. 1847.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
1993, The Jepson Manual, Citation: (accessed 11/24/2016),1234,1235
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information - (accessed 11/24/2016).