Hairy Desert Sunflower

Common Names:
Desert Sunflower, Hairy-Headed Sunflower, Hairy Desert Sunflower, Desert Gold
Scientific name:
Geraea canescens
Synonyms:
Geraea canescens var. canescens, Geraea canescens var. paniculata
Elevation range:
-120 - 3,700 ft.
Flowering Months:
January, February, March, April, May
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Annual
Notes:
Blooms may carpet large swaths of landscape in rainy years, Attracts native bees, Food for birds
State Occurrences:
Parks & Preserves:
Desert region:
Mojave, Sonoran

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Hairy Desert Sunflower in the desert

The Geraea canescens flower is has up to 25 bright yellow ray florets and innumerable orange disc florets in the center of the corolla. Hairy phyllaries that encapsulate the flower bud are visible in this photo.  Death Valley National Park | January 2016

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Hairy Desert Sunflower  in the desert

A basalt mountainside of Geraea canescens during the historic Sunflower bloom of 2016. Death Valley National Park | January 2016

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Hairy Desert Sunflower in the desert

Geraea canescens glows when backlit by the sun. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 2015

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Hairy Desert Sunflower in the desert

Geraea canescens is a prolific plant. In years of sufficient rain, its blooms will carpet entire valleys or mountainsides with golden yellow. Borrego Valley, CA | March 2015

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Hairy Desert Sunflower in the desert

Geraea canescens leaves are very hairy and elliptic in shape. The hairs give the green leaves a gray cast.  Borrego Valley, CA | March 2015

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Hairy Desert Sunflower in the desert

The hairy stem and woolly buds of Geraea canescens have a delicate grace about them. Anza Borrego Desert State Park | March 2010

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Hairy Desert Sunflower  in the desert

Rivulets of Geraea canescens appear on a hillside where water erosion has created channels in the basaltic rock. Death Valley National Park | January 2016