Mojave Aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia)

Mojave Aster (Xylorhiza tortifolia)

Xylorhiza tortifolia is a species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common names Mojave aster and Mojave woodyaster. It is native to the deserts of the southwestern United States, where it grows in canyons and other habitat. It is a perennial herb or subshrub with branching, hairy, glandular stems that reach 60 to 80 centimeters in length. The leaves are linear, lance-shaped, or oval, with pointed or spiny tips and spiny edges. The leaf surfaces are hairy and glandular. The inflorescence is a solitary flower head borne on a long peduncle. The head has a base with long, narrow phyllaries which may be over 2 centimeters long. The head contains up to 60 or more lavender, pale blue, or white ray florets which may be over 3 centimeters long. The fruit is an achene which may be over a centimeter long, including its pappus of bristles.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.