An Illustrated Guide to ARIZONA WEEDS

The University of Arizona Press

DESERT BAILEYA, desert marigold

Illustration

SUNFLOWER FAMILY-Compositae

DESERT BAILEYA-Baileya multiradiata Harv. & Gray

DESCRIPTION-Low, white woolly, tufted annual or often perennial from a thick, almost woody taproot, reproducing only by seeds. There are several to numerous erect woolly stems, eventually much branched from the base, 1/2 to 1 1/2 feet high. They are leafy only at the base or below the middle. At the top, each stem becomes the stalk for 1 head with many flowers. The soft, woolly leaves are alternate, clustered largely at the base of the plant and divided into irregular close set lobes, or some are divided again. The upper leaves are few lobed, or may be narrow and smooth edged. The showy yellow flower heads are 1 to 1 3/4 inches across, with 20 to 50 bright yellow ray flowers ("petals"). These do not drop off, but are persistent and become faded, papery, and turned downward in age. The flower heads are mostly borne singly at the tips of the stems and branches on long naked stalks, 4 to 8 inches long. Each head produces at least 100 achenes, which are rodshaped, about 1/8 inch long, light brown, with many longitudinal nerves on the surface.

DISTRIBUTION-Desert baileya is a native range weed growing on sandy or gravelly soils. A most attractive and abundant plant along roadsides, plains, and mesas throughout most of the state, adding beauty to the desert and desert grassland ranges; up to 5,000 feet elevation; flowering March to November.

POISONOUS PROPERTIES-Desert baileya, either fresh or dried, is poisonous to sheep and goats, but not to horses or cattle. The plant is not palatable to sheep, but the showy flower heads are relished. However, the flowering and fruiting heads are nearly twice as poisonous as the green leaves. Goats evidently do not graze the plant under range conditions, but have been poisoned in experimental feeding. Sheep losses from desert baileya have occurred in Arizona when green forage is scarce.

Copyright (c) 1972 The Arizona Board of Regents



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