Mojave Aster

Common Names:
Mojave Aster
Scientific name:
Xylorhiza tortifolia
Elevation range:
<6,900 ft.
Flowering Months:
March, April, May
Height | Length:
1-2 ft.
Life Cycle | Lifeform:
Attracts native bees, Attracts butterflies
State Occurrences:
Desert region:
Mojave, Sonoran

Food plant for Neumoegen's Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne neumoegen) and Noctuid moth (Schinia ligeae).

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Mojave Aster  in the desert

Xylorhiza tortifolia has an inflorescence of layered lavender ray florets and yellow-gold disc florets. It belongs to the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family. Red Rock Canyon State Park, CA | March 2015

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Mojave Aster in the desert

The flower bud of Xylorhiza tortifolia has narrow, green, hairy phyllaries that enclose the flower. They are still quite prominent after the flower opens. Pipes Canyon | May 25, 2010

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Mojave Aster in the desert

Xylorhiza tortifolia leaves are dark green, hairy, and narrow with toothed margins. Stems are woody at the base, growing to about 3 ft. tall. Pipes Canyon | March 2013

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Mojave Aster  in the desert

Little fuzzy native bees crowded into this Xylorhiza tortifolia flower as they were closing, perhaps to sleep there for the night.  Pipes Canyon, CA | April 2015

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Mojave Aster in the desert

Xylorhiza tortifolia petals roll down when the flower closes. Pipes Canyon, CA | April 21, 2015

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Mojave Aster in the desert

It's always difficult to choose a favorite desert flower, but Xylorhiza tortifolia is at or near the top of my list. Pipes Canyon, CA | April 2016