Family: Asteraceae (A Utah Flora – Compositae) – Sunflower Family
Biennial herbs from taproots; the juice milky; stems 11.8” to 3.3' (3 to 10 dm) tall
Leaves: alternate; simple or branched; entire, linear; can have hairs; clasping at base; somewhat grass-like; 2” to 10” (5 to 25 cm) long
Flowers: flowers all raylike, perfect, pale yellow, sometimes fading blue or purple; flower head appears to be a single flower, but is composed of several flowers (a composite). Flower head 3” to 4” (7.6 to 10.2 cm)
Fruits: achene – 1 seeded with hard shell
Blooms in Arches National Park: May, June
Habitat in Arches National Park: disturbed areas; prefers dry, open sites
Location seen: Delicate Arch road, outside Arches National Park where Hwy. 191 joins Interstate 70
Other: The genus name, “Tragopogon”, is from the Greek “tragos” meaning “goat” and “pogon” meaning “beard” because the flowerhead bracts resemble a goat's beard. The species name, “dubius”, means “dubious, uncharacteristic”.
This plant originated in Eurasia and Northern Africa and was introduced into the United States at the beginning of the 1900's as a garden plant. It escaped cultivation and became naturalized throughout an area extending south from New York into Virginia, west to California, and north to Illinois. It is especially troublesome in perennial horticultural crops.
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.