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Rough Mulesears

Wyethia scabra

Wyethia scabra

Synonym: Scabrethia scabra

Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family

Perennial herbs from a taproot; stems 6” to 2' (1.5 to 6 dm) tall or more

Leaves: alternate; simple; very rough, stiff hairs; lower leaves 1.2” to 6” (3 to 15 cm) long, 0.12” to 0.68” (3 to 17 mm) wide

Flowers: yellow ray flowers and disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). 10 to 23 rays, pistillate, fertile are 0.72” to 1.6” (18 to 40 mm) long; yellow disk flowers, perfect

Pollinators: other Wyethia species 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; usually in sand

Location seen: park road mile 1 to 3, park road mile 4 and 9-10, Delicate Arch road, Salt Valley road

Other: The genus name, “Wyethia”, honors Nathaniel Wyeth (1802-1856), a Massachusetts businessman who led two overland expeditions to Oregon in 1832 and 1834. The botanist Thomas Nutall and the ornithologist John Kirk Townsend accompanied the 2nd expedition, during which Nutall named this plant for Wyeth. The species name,”scabra”, means “rough” referring to the texture of the leaves which feel like sandpaper.

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?

Collared Lizard

Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals at Arches. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. This odd dance might enhance their stereoscopic vision, helping them see what's looking back at them.