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Mojave Aster

Xylorhiza tortifolia

Schinia Moth


Watercolor Illustration © by Michael J. Plagens

FLOWERS: Large asters with lavendar ray flowers and yellow disc flowers. Color of rays can vary to white or blue. Blooms through much of year (moisture permitting) but peaks Apr. and May.

PERENNIAL HERB: Woody at crown and just a bit above the soil line. Under ideal conditions the plants will reach one and a half meters tall.

UNARMED: No thorns, however, the leaf edges are sharply serrated and can feel prickly.

LEAVES: Elongate leaves are alternate and serrated.

FRUIT: An achene topped with a crown of capillary bristles.

RANGE: Found in the northwestern quarter of Arizona and southeastern California.

The caterpillars of the Schinia moth can often be found down inside the flower head feeding on the developing seeds. The adult moth is colored a lavender-brown allowing it to sit well-camouphlaged directly upon the open flowers.

Asteraceae -- Sunflower Family

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