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This is a native species.

Psilostrophe sparsiflora
Psilostrophe sparsiflora (Paper Flower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Pinyon/Juniper woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Calf Creek Falls Trail, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, Utah, October 23, 2007.

Psilostrophe sparsiflora catches your eye with its bright yellow flowers and symmetrical roundness. It grows to twenty inches tall, has green stems (and is sometimes, therefore, called "Greenstem Paper Flower"), and often (as in this photograph) loses its lower stem leaves by anthesis (flowering time). Each flower head usually has three large, rounded, and lobed ray flowers which droop at maturity (see bottom photos). The plant is not found in Colorado but is found in the other Four Corners states.

Augustin de Candolle named this genus.  Asa Gray named this species Riddellia tagetina variety sparsiflora in 1884 from a specimen collected in Utah by Bishop.  Aven Nelson renamed it Psilostrophe sparsiflora in 1903.

Psilostrophe sparsiflora
Psilostrophe sparsiflora (Paper Flower) Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Pinyon/Juniper woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Calf Creek Falls Trail, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, Utah, October 23, 2007.

Stems are green and freely branching; leaves are thick, linear, narrow (2-13 millimeters), and have minute hairs whose pustulate-bases show as silvery dots in the photograph immediately below. Overall hairiness of the plants is variable; the plants pictured were heavily cobwebby hairy on the upper stems and around the base of the flowers, a bit less hairy on the leaves, and only scattered hairs were on the stems.

Psilostrophe sparsiflora (Paper Flower)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Pinyon/Juniper woodlands, shrublands. Summer, fall.
Calf Creek Falls Trail, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, Utah, October 23, 2007.

The 1-4 ray petals are large and bright yellow; disk flowers are few (5-12) and tightly packed together. As the photographs indicate, drooping ray flower petals persist, turning a papery yellow.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Psilostrophe sparsiflora  

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