a-plant-a-day-21

Rayless goldenhead: Acamptopappus sphaerocephalus, Asteraceae (sunflower family)

Very little information is out there on this plant, other than when sheep can't find better forage, they'll eat it. Mostly what I found was limited to its physical characteristics and growing habitats. It mainly grows in creosote-bush scrubland, joshua tree woodlands, and pinon-juniper communities. This shrub grows to be about 3 feet tall with abundant, branching budding heads that lack ray flowers (which are the petals we normally consider to be the "flower.") Instead, these cute little bulbs are filled with disc flowers (the center flowers, that if you look closely, look like lilies.) The stems and foliage is a verdant, kelly green, and is extremely common around here. Which is why I'm surprised there's no more info out there—and also kind of nice, a reminder that it's not all about facts and data. I love how slowly the flowers have formed, and the staggering opening of each one, creating a horizon of differently-sized heads that look like a mixed bag of pearls and dandelions that got shorn. Each one maturing at its own pace, kindly evolvement. 

The look and feel and ambiance are just as crucial as anything to our enjoyment and understanding of the plant world.