Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Shrubs; 8” to 2' (2 to 6 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; entire; 0.24” to 3.2” (0.6 to 8 cm) long, 0.04” to 0.08” (1 to 2 mm) wide
Flowers: discoid; 2 to 20 yellow disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). Flowers are perfect, fertile; 0.32 to 0.4” (8 to 10 mm) long
Pollinators: other Chrysothamnus species are pollinated by insects
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: June, July, August, September, October, November
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: Courthouse Towers, Windows, Fiery Furnace parking lot, Salt Valley, park road mile 16, Devils Garden, Devils Garden campground
Other: The genus name, “Chrysothamnus”, is from the Greek “chrysos” meaning “golden” and “thamos” meaning “a shrub”. The species name, “parryi”, honors Charles Christopher Parry (1823-1890), the first official botanist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a collector with the Pacific Railway Survey.
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.