Sunday, January 10, 2010
Scratch Daisy - Croptilon divaricatum
Scratch daisy (Croptilon divaricatum) is one of a great many yellow-flowered members of the aster family in Florida. On quick examination, it looks very similar to the goldenasters - both those in the genus Chrysopsis and in Pityopsis, but it differs from those in several characteristics. This is the only member of this genus to occur in Florida, but it is quite common in uplands and disturbed sites in all of our counties from Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties north. It is also common throughout much of the Southeast.
Scratch daisy is an annual forb with slender stems and reduced leaves that are alternate up the stem. Mature plants may stand about 2 feet tall at flowering time and are multi-branched. And, as the common name implies, the stems are covered by short stiff "hairs".
Flowering is most abundant in the fall. The 1/2-inch bright yellow flowers are quite attractive and are pollinated by a wide variety of pollinators, including butterflies.
Because it is an annual and not an especially beautiful foliage plant, it is unlikely that scratch daisy will ever become a wildflower propagated commercially for the home wildflower market. It is easy to grow, however, for anyone who admires its bright yellow blooms. Large numbers of seeds are produced. Collect these when ripe and plant them just below the soil surface shortly afterwards. Scratch daisy will persist if planted into average soils that are not too heavily mulched.