Thursday, November 12, 2009

Narrowleaf goldenaster - Chrysopsis linearifolia

There are many species of true goldenasters in the genus Chrysopsis.  The ubiquitous C. subulata is found throughout the Peninsula in a very wide variety of upland habitats and is a common roadside plant and component of disturbed sites.  A few others, such as the Florida goldenaster (C. floridana) and Cruise's goldenaster (C. gossypina var. cruiseana) are exceedingly rare and listed by the state.  A few species look a bit "weedy" in my opinion, but many have large deep-yellow blossoms that rival most wildflowers for beauty.
Narrowleaf goldenaster (C. linearifolia) is somewhere in the middle of all this.  The subspecies pictured above ( C. linearifolia subsp. linearifolia) is endemic to Florida and has a restricted range; occurring only in the western and central Panhandle.  The other subspecies (C. linearifolia subsp. dressii) is also a Florida endemic, but is found in a number of counties throughout the Peninsula.  Both subspecies occur in extremely well-drained sandy soils and in open sunny locations.
Like all members of this genus, narrowleaf goldenaster is deciduous and becomes dormant in late winter.  In the spring, it emerges as a rosette of densely wooly leaves.  As the plant grows upward, however, the leaves become needle-like and are shiny green.  Mature plants stand 2-3 feet in height and flowering occurs in late fall - October-November.  The flowers are a rich yellow in color and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Narrowleaf goldenaster is not currently sold by any of the nurseries listed in the AFNN directory.  In fact, few of the most interesting species are.
We have not experimented with this species either at Hawthorn Hill although we have grown some of its close relatives.  We suspect that it is fairly easy to grow and maintain, and we hope that someday someone will pick up this species and add it to their offering list.

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