Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cottony goldenaster - Chrysopsis gossypina

Cottony goldenaster (Chrysopsis gossypina) is a species mostly confined to the Panhandle and often in coastal dune systems - where it is exposed to extremely harsh conditions. Several subspecies exist and these are distinguished by the degree of wooliness on the mature growth and by differences in the leaf margins.
All of the various subspecies are deciduous in the late fall and emerge in the spring as a rosette of wooly basal leaves.  As the stems elongate, they eventually flop onto the ground and stretch across it almost like a vine.  Flowering occurs in late fall and the flower heads turn upwards off the sands, but are raised only a few inches above in most cases.
Cottony goldenaster is a beautiful addition to a coastal dune planting and will also work in other open sunny/sandy areas.  Although it is not being offered commercially at this time, we have grown it at Hawthorn Hill for more than 3 years with good success.  Our plants bloom reliably and each year we add a few more seedlings to our collection in Pinellas County - well outside its natural range. 
Some of these seedlings could be made available should there be interest.

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