Sunday, June 7, 2015

Scrubland Goldenaster - Chrysopsis subulata

Scrubland goldenaster (Chrysopsis subulata) is yet another endemic species within this distinctly Florida genus.  Out of 11 species native to Florida, six are endemic.  Though it's name would suggest otherwise, scrubland goldenaster is most common to well-drained uplands - especially xeric flatwoods and sandhills, but not scrub.  These photos were taken in early June in a sandhill area of  Brooker Creek Preserve, Pinellas County, near its intersection with Hillsborough and Pasco Counties.  Its range in Florida includes most of the north and central peninsular counties.
Like other members of this genus, the basal leaves are densely hairy and seem silvery in color because of them.  In many species, the resulting upright stems and leaves that develop later are shiny - the "hairs" are lost, but in scrubland goldenaster the hairs remain obvious on the leaves and elongating stems, though not as densely silvery as in Florida goldenaster (C. floridana).
Scrubland goldenaster is a perennial that dies back to the ground in winter, but often retains its basal leaves.  These are narrow and somewhat spatulate in shape.  The main stem grows rapidly in the spring and reaches a mature height of about 3 feet by early summer.  The thin, twisting leaves alternate along the stems and remain conspicuously hairy.
The flower buds form at the top of the stem and form an open irregular multi-stemmed panicle by June in most parts of its range.  This early bloom time is another feature that separates it from other goldenasters.  Like other members of this genus, the ray petals and central disk are golden yellow.  In this species, the ray petals are very narrow and sometimes twisted in appearance.
Goldenasters, like other members of the aster family, are excellent pollinator flowers.  Though maybe not as showy as some other, more commonly planted genera, they sometimes are offered commercially to the home gardener.  Scrubland goldenaster has not been one of those to this date, but we hope to add it at Hawthorn Hill in 2016.  Its tolerance of a variety of growing conditions should make it a relatively easy species to maintain in a typical landscape situation and its growth habit should allow it to mix well with other species. If you are interested in this species, ask us next spring.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know if this site and the various postings have been useful to you.