The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

plants of the florilegium

Psilostrophe cooperi

FAMILY:  Asteraceae — Aster family

ETYMOLOGY:  The name of the genus Psilostrophe derives from two Greek words, psilos, meaning 'naked' or 'smooth', and trophos, meaning 'nurse'. The combination refers to the smooth receptable of the flower.

The specific epithet cooperi honors James Graham Cooper (1830-1902), a physician, naturalist, and ornithologist who worked on the northernmost route of the Pacific Railroad Survey in 1853

Paperflower, the common name, refers to the flower's paper-thin petals that remain on the plant after fading.

DESCRIPTION:  This perennial shrub with light gray-green foliage and yellow flowers generally grows to a height 12-24". As a member of the Aster family, it has the characteristic ray (outer) and disk (inner) flowers. The broader ray flowers are bright yellow and the central disk flowers are an orange-yellow color. The occur singly on the ends of the stems. Fading and turning papery with age, the dried flowers will remain on the plant for weeks. The stems have a dense covering of interwoven hairs giving them the light gray-green color. The plant blooms most of the year but usually between May and october.

Paperflower is generally found in sandy areas on slopes and plains and in washes at elevations between 2,000-5,000'.