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Western Daisy, Entireleaf Western Daisy, Eastern Western Daisy - Astranthium integrifolium


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Western Daisy Native Status: NativeDicot Annual Herb
Astranthium integrifolium - Western Daisy, Entireleaf Western Daisy, Eastern Western Daisy.
Astranthium is a small genus of about a dozen species primarily of Mexico, but three species have ranges within the United States - Astranthium integrifolium, Astranthium ciliatum (Comanche Western Daisy), and Astranthium robustum (which is endemic to Texas, and is known as the Texas Western Daisy.) While in the distant past, all three species have been considered subspecies to A. integrifolium, the multi-stemmed A. robustum has long been separated from the other two, single-stemmed species. Relatively recently, in 2005, Guy L. Nesom published the widely-accepted paper (see bibliography below) describing the rationale to consider Astranthium integrifolium ssp. ciliatum to be a separate species, classified as Astranthium ciliatum.

My interpretation / summary of the differences between the two species:
  • Lower cauline leaves are longer and wider in A. integrifolium than A. ciliatum.
  • The parts of the flower are somewhat larger in A. integrifolium.
  • The surface of the seed is less hairy in A. integrifolium.
  • A. ciliatum has a taproot (as does A. robustum); the root of A. integrifolium is fibrous.

Since these characteristics are less than obvious to most of us, and may require either waiting on seeds or pulling up the plant (strongly discouraged!), here's an easier technique - A. ciliatum occurs west of the Mississippi River - A. integrifolium to the east. While the specimen here was photographed in Tennessee and is therefore Astranthium integrifolium, I am including this plant in the lists for the states west of the Mississippi to help folks looking for wildflower identification in those states. Since the USDA still lists these species as one, the map shows the range for the combination of both species. It also shows it as being in North Carolina; according to Weakley, that was based on an erroneous report and it is not known in that state.

Astranthium integrifolium is found in AL, GA, KY, MS, TN, WV
Astranthium ciliatum is found in AR, KS, MO, OK, TX
Astranthium robustum is found in TX
Astranthium integrifolium

Distribution of Astranthium integrifolium in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 20 Sep 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail, Long Hunter State Park, Davidson County, TN Date: 2017-May-11Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The flower of is a typical Asteraceae - a composite. The blossom is made up of two types of flowers - ray florets and disc florets. With Astranthium integrifolium the 6 up to about 25 ray florets are usually lavender or white - if lavender then the bases may be white, as in this photo. The disc florets are yellow, with 5 lobes. The writer of the description in Flora of North America must have had only dried specimens, as that auspicious book says the ray florets are white, and may dry with a lavender or bluish line.
Astranthium integrifolium

Site: Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail, Long Hunter State Park, Davidson County, TN Date: 2017-May-11Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Western Daisy is a small plant, from 4 up to about 18 inches high - this one about a foot tall. They will branch at leaf axils throughout the plant. The flowers are solitary at the end of each stem.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Astranthium integrifolium

Site: Jones Mill Mountain Bike Trail, Long Hunter State Park, Davidson County, TN Date: 2017-May-11Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Western Daisy are both basal and cauline. The basal rosette appears in the fall or winter and overwinters as such. In late winter or early spring a stem appears with cauline leaves as the basal rosette fades. These lower stem leaves are somewhat oval but gradually decrease in width to the sessile or slightly clasping base. They may be up to about 1.25" long. The leaves reduce in size up the stem, and do not narrow as dramatically to their sessile base. The uppermost leaves are dramatically smaller and are more lanceolate in shape. The margins of the leaves are hairy; the upper surface of the lower leaves are hairy as well.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Astranthium integrifolium

References used for identification and information:

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer