Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Hymenopappus filifolius, Fineleaf Hymenopappus

Fineleaf Hymenopappus is a native perennial with medium size showy yellow or lemon colored flowers that bloom from April to September. Hymenopappus filifolius Fineleaf Hymenopappus has 13 varieties ranging from smooth to heavily pubescent (tomentose) herbage. The plant in the photo has foliage with dense white soft hairs; note the whitish to yellowish wholly pubescence covering the phyllaries. Hymenopappus filifolius Fineleaf Hymenopappus; post bloom fruit is an achene as shown in the photograph. Hymenopappus filifolius Fineleaf Hymenopappus has light green basal leaves, gray-green in color and about 2 inches, note the margins are pinnately dissected twice with “threadlike” or linear lobes; thus the common name “Fineleaf Hymenopappus”. Hymenopappus filifolius Fineleaf Hymenopappus is a native perennial with some varieties reaching up to 3 feet or more. Plants grow in various habitats from upper desert communities to pines and junipers in dry rocky slopes and mesas and limestone soils. Hymenopappus filifolius

Scientific Name: Hymenopappus filifolius
Common Name: Fineleaf Hymenopappus
Also Called: Columbia Cutleaf, Cutleaf, Fine-leaf Woollywhite
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Hymenopappus filifolius var, pauciflorus; Hymenopappus filifolius. var. megacephalus; Hymenopappus filifolius var. lugens; Hymenopappus filifolius nanus, and Hymenopappus filifolius var. cinereus)
Status: Native
Duration: Perennial
Size: Up to 3 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, subshrub; herbage glabrous to heavily tomentose.
Leaves: Light green; basal leaves gray-green; about 2 inches, margins pinnately dissected twice, lobes linear or threadlike with glands.
Flower Color: Yellow or lemon yellow; discoid florets only, between 10 and 70 or more; corollas mostly yellow, sometimes whitish; phyllaries surrounding "flower" head also whitish to yellowish; fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: April to September.
Elevation: 2,500 7,500 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Various habitats from upper desert communities to pines and junipers in dry rocky slopes and mesas and limestone soils.

Recorded Range: Fineleaf Hymenopappus is found in the western United States, Saskatchewan and Alberta Canada and in Northern Mexico.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Hymenopappus filifolius.

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: 11 species in Hymenopappus throughout the United States and Canada, mostly in western half, central and southern United States, in Canada in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and in Northern Mexico; 6 species in Arizona, 13 varieties in Hymenopappus filifolius; 6 varieties of Hymenopappus filifolius in Arizona.

Comments: Hymenopappus filifolius or Fineleaf Hymenopappus occurs in 13 varieties throughout much of North America, Arizona has 6 varieties in various habitats around the state. As a result, there is much (often subtle) variation in plants from one location to another and they may be difficult to identify individually to specific variety. However, most varieties seem to have enough similar characteristics that they can be easily recognizable to species.

Several ethno-botanical uses have been identified for Fineleaf Hymenopappus including uses as food, cough medicine, panacea, gastrointestinal aid and more.

  • Hopi Food, Bread & Cake; Leaves boiled, rubbed with cornmeal and baked into bread.
  • Zuni Drug, Dermatological Aid; Poultice of chewed root with lard applied to swellings.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Cough Medicine; Decoction of plant taken for cough.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Panacea; Cold infusion of root used as 'life medicine.'
  • Hopi Drug, Toothache Remedy; Root chewed for decaying teeth.

  • See ethno-botanical uses for this species at the on-line site Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Completed: 10/8/2014, updated: 05/30/2015; Updated, 07/25/2015, updated 05/18/2017, updated format 10/10/2017
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, as Hymenopappus filifolius var, pauciflorus; H. f. var. megacephalus; H. f. var. lugens; H. f. nanus, and H. f. var. cinereus.
    David J. Keil 2017. Hymenopappus filifolius, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 18, 2017.
    John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Hymenopappus, Page 310, 311, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico.16+ vols. New York and Oxford. (accessed 10/8/2014)
    SEINet for synonyms, scientific names and recorded geographic locations,