Sonoran Desert Pink to Purple Composites

Annuals to long lived perennials in the Sunflower Family. Some shrubby. Leaves various shapes. Ray and or disc flowers in various shades of red, purple, lavender, violet or brown. Flowers compound arranged into compact heads of a few to many florets.

Wire Lettuce/ Desert Straw

Stephanomeria pauciflora


Porophyllum gracile

Common shrub or perennial often with numerous arching wiry stems. Stems may be nearly leafless. Flowers appear almost throughout the year. Detailed Description

Narrow, smooth stems and leaves highly odiferous. Narrow heads with faintly pink or purple flowers. Low, mostly herbaceous perennial. Common. Detailed Description

Tansey-leaf Tansey-Aster

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Mesa Tansy-Aster

Machaeranthera tagetina

Purple aster on herbaceous plant with dissected leaves. Common in upper elevations of Sonoran Desert blooming especially in fall. This and the next can form hybrid crosses on occasion. Detailed Description

A dozen, more-or-less purple rays surrounding bright yellow disc florets. The phyllaries and leaves are coarse to the touch with many gland=tipped hairs. Summer annual after summer rains. Detailed Description

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San Felipe Marigold

Adenophyllum porophylloides

Holly-leaf Brickell-bush

Brickellia atractyloides

Flower head tall with maroon and orange disc flowers. Fairly common on wash banks and rocky slopes blooming in mid to late spring. Pinately disected leaves. Intense terpene odor when crushed.  Detailed Description

Flower heads similar to other brickle-bush species and are not showy. Tough, woody stems bear leaves with sharp serrations and prickle tips. Detailed Description

Coulter's Brickell Bush

Brickelia coulteri



Common undershrub found especially along wash banks and in partial shade on rocky slopes. Tips of phyllaries are maroon to purplish - otherwise flowers are not showy. Conspicuous white pappus on mature seed heads. Detailed Description



Page 2 Purple to Pink Asters
Sonoran Desert Places


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 24 Aug. 2008,
updated 18 May 2022.