Stevia Dusty-maiden (False Yarrow; Esteve's Pincushion; Dusty Maiden)
Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Annual (or often winter annual) herbs from a taproot; 1.6” to 1.4' (4 to 42 cm) tall
Leaves: mostly basal and then alternate above; simple; pinnatifid lobes; has hairs; 0.12” to 4” (0.3 to 10 cm) long
Flowers: discoid; white to cream disk flowers; perfect; 1” (2.54 cm) wide flower heads; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite).
Pollinators: other Chaenactis species in this family are pollinated by insects
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road near Park Avenue , park road mile 5.4, Windows trail, Salt Valley , Broken Arch trail
Other: The genus name, “Chaenactis”, is from the Greek “chaino” meaning “to gape” and “aktis” meaning “a ray”, thus meaning “a gaping ray”, referring to the fact that in many species the outer florets are enlarged into a wide-open flaring raylike mouth. The species name, “stevioides”, possibly means "like Stevia", a genus in the Asteraceae family that grows in Paraguay and from which the artificial sweetener Stevia was derived. It was named after Pedro Jaime Esteve (d. 1566), a Spanish physician and botanist.
This family is the most advanced and complex of the dicots. The family is rich in oils and resins and is found in every part of the world, but is infrequent in the tropical rainforest. Aquatic or semi-aquatic species are also uncommon.
Did You Know?
Edward Abbey worked as a seasonal park ranger at Arches in the late 1950s. His 1968 memoir of this experience, "Desert Solitaire," has become a classic of desert literature.