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Desert sunflower facts for kids

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Desert sunflower
Geraea canescens 2005-02-20.jpg
Desert Sunflower (Geraea canescens)
Scientific classification
G. canescens
Binomial name
Geraea canescens
Torr. & Gray
  • Encelia eriocephala A.Gray
  • Simsia canescens (Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray

Geraea canescens, commonly known as desert sunflower, hairy desert sunflower, or desert gold, is an annual plant in the family Asteraceae. "Geraea" in its scientific name comes from the Greek geraios ("old man"), referring to the white hairs on the fruits.

Geraea canescens bears yellow sunflower-like flowers on slender, hairy stems. It grows 1–3 ft (0.30–0.91 m) high. The leaves are gray-green and grow to 3 in (8 cm) long. It flowers February through May after sufficient rainfall.

Geraea canescens is native to western North America, specifically Arizona, Nevada, California, and Utah. A drought-resistant annual plant, it can be found in the California, Mojave, and Sonoran Deserts. It grows from −130 to 3,700 ft (−40 to 1,130 m) in sandy desert soil in the company of creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). It is one of the flowers which participates in the occasional superblooms of desert flowers.

The flowers attract bees and birds, and the seeds are eaten by birds and rodents.

There are two varieties of Geraea canescens:

  • Geraea canescens var. canescens
  • Geraea canescens var. paniculata S.F.Blake
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