Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Calycoseris parryi, Yellow Tackstem

Yellow Tackstem has a showy yellow strap-like flower that prefers limestone soils; Yellow Tackstem blooms from March to June. Calycoseris parryi Yellow Tackstem is a smooth, or glabrous, species that has conspicuous dark colored glands on the upper parts of the stem and flowering parts. Calycoseris parryi Yellow Tackstem is a winter annual that is found mostly in the Mojave Desert but also in the Colorado River Basin portion of the Sonoran Desert. Calycoseris parryi Yellow Tackstem has yellow flowers, mostly inconspicuous leaves and grows up to a foot tall. Flowers bloom in single heads or in clusters of 1 or many (20 or more). Calycoseris parryi

Scientific Name: Calycoseris parryi
Common Name: Yellow Tackstem

Also Called: Tackstem

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: ()

Status: Native

Duration: Annual; winter annual.

Size: Up to 12 inches (30 cm).

Growth Form: Forb/herb; low, branching with 1 or 3 stems from the base; plants glabrous and dotted with red or purple glands; milky sap.

Leaves: Green; leaves arranged alternately on the stems; leaves without supporting stalk or petiole (sessile), leaves are pinnately divided, leaves linear; small, almost inconspicuous.

Flower Color: Yellow, bright yellow; flowers strap-like or ligulate; bracts surrounding flower heads gland-dotted, red or purple tipped fruit a fusiform cypsela with a pappus of white stiff hairs (bristles.

Flowering Season: March to April; April, May, June in California and Texas.

Elevation: 650 feet (200 m) to 6,000 feet (1,800 m).

Habitat Preferences: Sandy, gravelly soils, sand dunes, washes, slopes and limestone ridges in lower Mojave and Colorado (western Sonoran) deserts.

Recorded Range: Yellow Tackstem is found in the southwest United States in AZ, CA, NV, UT. This species is also native to Baja California and northwestern Mexico. In Arizona in is found in the northwest part of the state and northwest Maricopa County.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Calycoseris parryi.

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

North America species range map for Calycoseris parryi: 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 are 2 species and 2 accepted taxa overall for Calycoseris. World wide, The Plant List includes 2 accepted species names and includes a further 2 infraspecific rank for the genus.

The genus Calycoseris was published by Asa Gray in 1853.

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

Comments: Yellow Tackstem is a Spring wildflower preferring limestone soils and is primarily a Mojave Desert and western Sonoran Desert species.

Yellow Tackstem is similar in size and shape to the closely related White Tackstem, Calycoseris wrightii which differs primarily by its white flowers.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Tiny wind-borne seeds of Calycoseris parryi may possibly be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native Bees, Butterflies and Insects
Calycoseris parryi flowers may be visited by butterflies, bees and other small insects.

The genus Calycoseris (Calycos'eris:) is from the Greek word kalux, “cup”, and seris, a chicory-like genus.

The genus Calycoseris was published by Asa Gray in 1853.

The specific epithet parryi (par'ryi/par'ryana:) is named in honor of Dr. Charles C. Parry, (1823-1890), an English-born American botanist and botanical collector with the Pacific Railway Survey who visited the Southwestern mountains and deserts many times and is remembered in the names of more than a score of southwestern native plants. Dr. Parry studied botany under John Torrey, Asa Gray and George Engelmann.


Date Profile Completed: 11/17/2016, updated 06/02/2020
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 06/02/2020)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 06/02/2020).
L. D. Gottlieb, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 19, 20 and 21 | Asteraceae | Calycoseris; 1. Calycoseris parryi A. Gray in W. H. Emory, Rep. U.S. Mex. Bound. 2(1): 106. 1859.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor; : L.Crumbacher 2011, F.S.Coburn 2015 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 06/02/2020).
Wikipedia contributors, 'Calycoseris parryi', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 March 2018, 00:02 UTC, [accessed 2 June 2020]
L.D. Gottlieb 2012, Calycoseris parryi, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=1891, accessed on June 02, 2020.
Virginia Tech Dendrology; Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information
Michael L. Charters; California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology; (accessed 06/03/2020)