Camphor Weed
Telegraph Plant

Heterotheca subaxillaris

Heterotheca subaxillaris photo © by Michael Plagens

Heterotheca subaxillaris photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed near Camp Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona. August 2008.

ANNUAL: Robust annual growing usually after summer rains, but may germinate and begin vegetative growth after late spring rains. Plants can reach almost two meters in height. Several, widely spreading side branches, suggest the alternate name for this plant, Telegraph Plant.

LEAVES: Leaves are broadly elliptic with short petioles. Leaf bases may clasp the stem. Ashy green leaves have a gritty texture and emit strong camphor-like aroma when crushed.

FLOWERS: Bright yellow disc and ray florets. The composite heads include 25 or so rays and about 60 disc florets - but this number can vary tremendously.

RANGE: Frequent throughout the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico at roadsides, along washes, and in the vicinity of agricultural fields. Ranges across the southern tier of the United States and hence into tropical America.

FRUIT: Seeds are angled or flattened and do not have a pappus at top.

UNARMED. Thornless.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

Sponsored Links:

Lesser Goldfinch  House Finch

As the seed heads mature Lesser Goldfinches and House Finches begin removing and eating the seeds. The flowers are attractive to nectar-feeding insects.

 © by Mike Plagens

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 15 Dec. 2008,
updated 18 Sept. 2016.