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Xylorhiza orcuttii (Vasey & Rose) Greene

Orcutt’s aster, Orcutt’s woody aster, borego aster, mojave aster

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderAsteralesFlowering plants with a central disk flower and surrounding petals, like daisies
FamilyAsteraceaeThe aster family, which also includes daisies and sunflowers; from the Greek ἀστήρ, “star,” for the star-shaped flowers
GenusXylorhizaWoodyasters, from the Greek for “woody root”
SpeciesorcuttiiNamed for naturalist Charles Russell Orcutt

About plant names...

Orcutt's aster is an endangered species native to California and Baja California in Mexico.

Identification: This aster is a smooth-stemmed shrub less than 5' (1.5 m) in height. Leaves are variable: oblong or lance-shaped, ¾-2" (2-6 cm) x ⅛-1" (5-26 mm), with smooth or spiny edges. Light blue flowers are about 1-2½" (3-7 cm) in diameter, composed of 25-40 rays around a yellow center. (The yellow center is itself composed of 55-140 tiny flowers.) Fruits are ¹/₁₆-⅛" (3-4 mm) in size, surrounded by a bristly pappus up to ⅜" (1 cm). Plants are found in arid canyons at elevations of 66-984' (20-300 m).

Online References:

The San Diego Sierra Club

The US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management in California


The Jepson Manual

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Aster orcuttii Vasey & Rose

Machaeranthera orcuttii (Vasey & Rose) Cronquist & D.D. Keck


Xylorhiza orcuttii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Xylorhiza orcuttii (Orcutt’s aster, Orcutt’s woody aster, borego aster, mojave aster)

2/28/2010 · Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cali­fornia
≈ 24 × 19" (62 × 48 cm)


About this map...