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Desert Marigold Baileya multiradiata


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Desert Marigold
credit: Stan Shebs/CCSA

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Alternate name: Showy Desert Marigold

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Native herbaceous annual, biennial or short-lived perennial.
Habit: clumping, with showy gold flowers above a mound of wooly foliage; may be evergreen, depending on location.
Height: 8-40 in (20-100 cm).
Leaf: in basal rosette, deeply lobed into thin blades, 1-4 in (3-10 cm) long; sparse to none on the stalks.
Flower: daisy-like, terminal, yellow to gold, to 2 in (5 cm) wide; with 30-60 layered, overlapping, oval to oblong rays, 3 teeth at end; around a button-like disk.
Fruit: seed capsule, 3/16 in (4 mm) long.

Flower March to November, depending on rainfall.

Flower March - November

Habitat Native to stony slopes, mesas, and sandy plains; roadsides; 325-6500 ft (100-2000 m).

Range Native to the desert southwestern U.S., from California to Utah and Texas, and south into Mexico; now cultivated in the Southwest and California.

Discussion DAlso known as: paper daisy, wild marigold. Dense patches often form solid strips of yellow along miles of desert roadsides. In gardens a single plant grows into a perfect hemisphere of yellow, blooming throughout the hot summer and into fall. The name Marigold, given to several species of Asteraceae with sunny yellow or orange flowers, comes from "Mary's Gold," in honor of the Virgin.

Comments Desert marigold is a well-behaved plant that thrives in poor, dry soils and extreme heat. It is subject to crown rot if the soil is too wet. A stand of desert marigold will self-sow in favorable conditions. The seedling rosettes require a period of cold dormancy to set buds.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution S.e. California, Arizona & s.w. Utah, e. to w. Texas

Site Preference Sandy plains; mesas; rocky slopes

Soil Preference Sandy or gravelly soils.