Monday, March 22, 2010

Hairy Desert Sunflower or Desert Gold

The hairy desert sunflower, also known as desert gold, is native to the western U.S., particularly California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The one below was found in the Salt Spring Hills near the Dumont Dunes.
By contrast, I found the one below in the San Felipe Hills. The flower appears to be the same, but the body of the plant appears thicker.
The desert sunflower grows from sea level to about 4,265 feet in sandy soil in the company of creosote bush. Its scientific name is geraea canescens. Geraea comes from the Greek geraios, meaning "old man," a reference to the white hairs on the fruits. The San Felipe Hills sunflower seems particularly hairy.
The petals of the flower are bright yellow and the center is a darker yellow-orange. From the San Felipe flower.
From the Salt Spring Hills sunflower.
I have read that there are two subspecies and these two versions may represent both subspecies.

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