Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Short-lived perennial herbs; 0.8” to 2.4” (2 to 6 cm) high
Leaves: alternate; simple; has hairs; 0.2” to 1.6” (5 to 40 mm) long, 0.04” to 0.2” (1 to 5 mm) wide
Flowers: ray flowers and disk flowers; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). 13 to 34 rays; rays upper white, pink to lavender below 0.24” to 0.4” (6 to 10 mm) long; yellow disk flowers 0.06” to 0.12” (1.5 to 3 mm) wide
Pollinators: other genera in this family are pollinated by insects
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: park road near La Sal Mts. Viewpoint, Windows road, park road south of Salt Valley overlook, Broken Arch trail, outside Arches National Park in upper Mill Creek and Moab Rim trail
Other: The genus name, “Townsendia”, honors David Townsend (1787-1858) an amateur botanist from West Chester , Pennsylvania . The species name, “incana”, means “hairy, hoary, grey or silver colored” referring to the leaves.
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.