Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Perennial shrubs; 0.24” to 3' (6 to 90 cm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple; linear; can have hairs; 0.8” to 2.8” (2 to 7 cm) long, 0.04” to 0.12” (1 to 3 mm) wide
Flowers: yellow ray flowers and yellow disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). Perfect or sterile. 3 to 7 ray flowers 0.08” to 0.2” (2 to 5 mm) long; 3 to 8 disk flowers 0.08” to 0.12” (2 to 3 mm) long
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: June, July, August, September, October, November
Habitat in Arches National Park: disturbed areas, desert shrub, and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: widespread
Other: The genus name, “Gutierrezia”, honors Pedro Gutierrez, a 19th century botanist of Madrid and the species name, “sarothrae”, is from the Greek “sarum” which means “broom” referring to the broom-like appearance of the stems.
Plants can be poisonous due to saponins. 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.