Xylorhiza tortifolia

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Xylorhiza tortifolia
Xylorhiza tortifolia flower 2.jpg
Scientific classification
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X. tortifolia
Binomial name
Xylorhiza tortifolia
Synonyms

Aster orcuttii
Machaeranthera orcuttii

Xylorhiza tortifolia is a species of flowering plant in the aster family, known by the common names Mojave-aster and Mojave woodyaster.[1]

Distribution[edit]

The flowering plant is native to the Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert, and Great Basin Desert ecoregions of the southwestern United States, California, and northwestern Mexico.[2]

It grows in arid canyons and bajadas/washes, from 240–2,000 metres (790–6,560 ft) in elevation. Habitats it is found in include creosote bush scrub, saltbush scrub, and Joshua tree woodlands.[1]

Description[edit]

Xylorhiza tortifolia is a perennial herb or subshrub with branching, hairy, glandular stems that reach 60–80 centimetres (24–31 in) in height/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 bloom period is March through June.[1]

The fruit is an achene which may be over a centimeter long, including its pappus of bristles.

Varieties[edit]

  • Xylorhiza tortifolia var. imberbis — Imberis woodyaster, Great Basin region in Nevada, Utah, Arizona.[3]
  • Xylorhiza tortifolia var. parashantensis — Parashant woodyaster, endemic to Arizona.[4]
  • Xylorhiza tortifolia var. tortifolia — Mojave aster, Mojave woodyaster, a variety primarily native to the higher/winter colder Mojave Desert, and Owens Valley of the Great Basin region, from 240–2,000 metres (790–6,560 ft) in elevation.[5][6]

Taxonomy[edit]

Desert species of this aster with a woody base (Xylorhiza means woody base) are classified under the genus Xylorhiza, and have been removed from the large and complex genus Machaeranthera, where they were placed for many decades.[7] A similar species, Xylorhiza wrightii−Big Bend aster, is native to the Chihuahuan Desert in western Texas and northern Mexico.[7]

Uses[edit]

The Havasupai used the plant for incense and fragrance, with ground leaves carried in the clothes and used as perfume by men and women to counteract body odors.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]