Machaeranthera tagetina, Mesa Tansyaster
Scientific Name: Machaeranthera tagetina
Common Name: Mesa Tansyaster
Also Called: Mesa Tansy-aster (Spanish: Flor de Capita)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Aster tagetinus)
Duration: Annual, taproot.
Size: To 20 inches
Growth Form: Forb/herb; attractive daisy-like flower.
Leaves: Green or grayish-green leaves; alternate, about ¾ inch long, covered with small stiff hairs, narrow, some pinnately divided with narrow linear lobes, curved inward.
Flower Color: Bright purple and yellow showy flower heads 1 to 2 inches wide; radiate heads with 8 to 16 florets; disk flowers bright orange or yellow, 14 to 40 florets; the bracts or phyllaries below the flower head are lanceolate to linear, green and white which is helpful in part, distinguishing this species from others; fruit is an achene.
Flowering Season: March to November, summer blooms follow monsoon rainfall. Blooms earlier in California; July to October or December.
Elevation: 1,500 to 4,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Lower and upper Sonoran Desert and transition habitats, pinion-juniper and evergreen-oak communities, slopes, grassy areas, mesas and roadsides.
Recorded Range: Rare in the United States, found only in Arizona and New Mexico and also Baja California and Mexico. It is found throughout much of Arizona, heavy in central and south portions and in New Mexico where it is limited to the southern and southwest corner of the state.
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.
Comments: Mesa Tansyaster is a small species with a daisy-like flower. It is a rare species in the United States found mostly in Arizona, New Mexico has smaller geographic ranges with smaller populations. However, this Sonoran Desert species is common in its preferred habitat where found.
The genus Machaeranthera, in general is a genus found primarily in the western parts of North America. See also Tansyleaf Tansyaster, Machaeranthera tenacetifolia and Hoary Tansyaster, Dieteria canescens.