Size: 12 to 24 inches (30-61 cm) tall and up to 40 inches (101 cm) wide
Growth Form:Subshrub; low, rounded or mounding, bushy plants, much wider than tall, stems grayish green or grayish brown with tiny splits and cracks (fissures), upper stems with whitish stiff hairs (strigose); woody or shrubby stems at the base.
Flower Color: White or cream with yellow centers; numerous, scented, daisy-like flower heads, note the white petals above have 3-notches; solitary on branch tips; flowers showy, about 1½ inches (3.81 cm); both ray and diskflorets; bracts surrounding flower heads ovate; fruit is a cypsela lacking a pappus.
Flowering Season: March or April to October or November
Elevation: 2,000 to 6,500 feet (610-2,000 m)
Habitat Preferences: Lower and upper deserts, open areas, dry rocky hillsides, chaparral, grasslands, slopes and mesas, prefers sandy and gravelly soil, often in limestone or caliche soils.
Recorded Range:Native to the southwestern United States in AZ, CO, KS, NM, OK, TX and northern and far eastern Mexico. The largest populations are found in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Genus Information: In North America there are 7 species and 7 accepted taxa overall for Melampodium. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 45 accepted species names and a further 18 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Melampodium.
The genus Melampodium are hardy plants from subtropical and tropical regions with most of the species found in Mexico.
In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and Texas each have 3 species of Melampodium, California has 1 species, Nevada and Utah have 0 species and New Mexico has 2 species. Data approximate and subject to revision.
Comments:Melampodium collectively are known as “blackfoots” which, some say is thought to be a reference to the black color at the base of the stem and roots (see full Etymology below).
Plains Blackfoot Daisy is an excellent landscape species for a natural look in rock landscapes and other arid gardens.
Plains Blackfoot Daisy may be easily confused with Desert Zinnia, Zinnia acerosa which also has white and yellow daisy-like flowers. The differences are not always clear but one difference is Desert Zinnia has fewer ray flowers; 4 to 6, versus 8 to 10 on Plains Blackfoot Daisy.
Melampodium leucanthum showy daisy-like flowers, seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar, shelter and protection through cover.
Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Bees and Insects
Melampodium leucanthum has showy daisy-like flowers, the flowers and plants may be visited by butterflies, moths and other insects in search of nectar and/or other food.
The genus “Melampodium” may be derived from the Greek words “melas”, meaning black, and “podion”, meaning foot. Other authorities, however, maintain that this is in error, that the name comes from Melampus, a soothsayer of renown in Greek mythology.
The species epithet “leucanthum” (leucan'thum:) from Greek “leukos”, white and “anthemon” flower and thus white-flowered.