Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Purple, Lavender, Red Asteraceae p.1 >>> p. 2

Sonoran Desert Pink and Purple Sunflowers

Annuals to long lived perennial. Some shrubs. Leaves various shapes. Ray and or disc flowers in various shades of red, purple, lavender, violet. Flowers compound arranged in compact heads.

Mojave Aster

Xylorhiza tortifolia

Arrow Weed

Pluchea sericea

Watercolor Illustration © by Mike Plagens

Long lived perennial with large showy asters. Northwest portions of the Sonoran Desert where it merges with the Mojave Desert. Detailed Description

Pen & Ink Illustration © by Mike Plagens

Very large shrub with straight stems growing in moist soil near rivers. Purplish flowers. Detailed Description

New Mexico Thistle

Cirsium neomexicanum

Salt Marsh Fleabane

Pluchea odorata

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Herbaceous perennial growing usually with just one stem from tap root. and with spiny leaves. Large pink or pale lavender heads. Upper Sonoran Desert habitat on rocky slopes or at roadsides. Blooming mid spring. Detailed Description

Photo by Mike Plagens

Perennial growing in wet soil near streams/rivers. Usu. about ½ m tall. Ill-scented. Purple flowers. Detailed Description

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Desert Holly

Acourtia nana


Acourtia wrightii

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Low growing stems often in partial shade with distinctive holly-like leaves. Pink or lavender flowers in heads. Southern portions of Sonoran Desert especially near Tucson.  Detailed Description

Pen & Ink Illustration © by Mike Plagens

All of the pink flower in the heads are conspicuously two-lipped. Highly fragrant. Leaves thick, sharply serrated. Grows often in the partial shade of desert trees in the foothills.  Detailed Description

Bigelow's Aster

Machaeranthera bigelovii

Blessed Milkthistle

Silybum marianum

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Purple rays and yellow disc. Leaves minutely spine-tipped along margins. Phyllaries in many ranked series. In transition to chaparral or piñon/juniper. Detailed Description

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Purple disc flowers nearly enclosed by bristly bracts. Escape from gardens not usu. in desert. Detailed Description

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008