Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Atrichoseris platyphylla, Parachute Plant

Parachute Plant has showy white 1 inch flowers with yellow or purple centers. This species blooms from February to May and grows at elevations up to 2,500 in Arizona and higher in California. Atrichoseris platyphylla Parachute Plant has daisy type flowers known as ligulate or strap-like. The bracts or phyllaries on the bottom of the flower are in 2 to 4 series. Atrichoseris platyphylla Parachute Plants may be as large as 3 feet with erect spindly branches and a few or many showy flowering heads. The stems are often glaucous or purplish. This species in primarily found in the Mojave Desert and in wet years may be common in Boreago State Park and Death Valley National Park. Atrichoseris platyphylla Parachute Plants has primarily basal or rosette-like leaves with purple spots on the bottom and purple mottled spots on the top parts of the leaf. The leaves are without stems or taper to a short winged-like stem. Margins are with spiny-like teeth. Atrichoseris platyphylla

Scientific Name: Atrichoseris platyphylla
Common Name: Parachute Plant

Also Called: Gravel-ghost, Tobacco-weed

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Malacothrix platyphylla)

Status: Native

Duration: Winter annual

Size: 8 to 36 inches ( 2--18 dm,) tall.

Growth Form: Forb/herb; stems glaucous; glabrous; erect spindly; stems with milky sap.

Leaves: Bluish-grey or whitish (glaucous); basal rosette leaves also glaucous, purple tinged and mottled, especially on the lower surfaces (abaxial); lowest leaves often flat on soil; leaves sessile or tapering to a short winged leaf stem or stalk (petiole); blades obovate; leaf edges or margins finely toothed (dentate).

Flower Color: White with yellow or purple centers, fragrant, quickly withering; ligulate flower only, about a 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter; few to many heads; the bracts or phyllaries surrounding the heads are in 2-4 series; fruit is a club-shaped cypsela with a white pappus.

Flowering Season: February or March to April or May.

Elevation: Up to 2,500 feet (760 m); below 4,500 feet (1,400 m) in California.

Habitat Preferences: Dry desert slopes and mesas, Creosote Bush scrub; desert valleys and washes in California.

Recorded Range: Parachute Plant is found in the deserts of the southwestern United States, mostly in the Mojave Desert in AZ, CA, NV, UT. In Arizona it may be found in La Paz, Mohave and Yuma counties. This species is also native to northwestern Mexico (Sonora, Baja California).

North America & US County Distribution Map for Atrichoseris platyphylla.

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

North America species range map for Atrichoseris platyphylla: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

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

In the Southwestern United States: There is 1 species of Atrichoseris in the southwestern United States. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Atrichoseris is a monotypic genus.

The genus Atrichoseris was published by Asa Gray in 1884.

Comments: Large populations of Parachute Plant are found in southeast California and southeast Nevada and in Borrego State Park and Death Valley National Park. Atrichoseris platyphylla appears to found in greater numbers in the Mojave desert although it is also found in the Sonoran desert. The type species is from near Fort Mohave (Cooper), Arizona.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Seeds of Atrichoseris platyphylla may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Parachute Plant, Atrichoseris platyphylla, may attract insects including butterflies and possibly bees and other small insects.

The genus Atrichoseris Atrichos'eris: from the Greek athrix, "without hair," and seris, a cichoriaceous genus. The genus Atrichoseris was published by Asa Gray in 1884.

The species epithet "platyphylla" (platyphyl'la:) broad-leaved, a reference to the leaves in the basal rosette.

No date available

Date Profile Completed: 11/15/2016; updated 05/03/2020
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 05/03/2020)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 05/03/2020).
David J. Keil, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Atrichoseris A. Gray in A. Gray et al., Syn. Fl. N. Amer. 1(2): 410.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
David J. Keil & G. Ledyard Stebbins 2012, Atrichoseris platyphylla, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=1591, accessed on May 03, 2020.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet [accessed: 05/03/2020]. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Atrichoseris', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 March 2018, 03:26 UTC, [accessed 3 May 2020]
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
Etymology: Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 04/22/2020)