Ashy Dogweed (Thymophylla tephroleuca)

Photograph of the Ashy Dogweed


Other Names
Ashy Pricklyleaf
Texas Status
U.S. Status
Endangered, Listed 7/19/1984
Ashy dogweed is an herbaceous perennial wildflower. It gets its name from the ashy grayish-green color of the stems and leaves. The stems and very thin leaves (1/2 inch long and 1/8 inch wide) are covered with tiny woolly white hairs which are responsible for the distinctive color. About the size of a penny, the daisy-like flowers have 10 to 15 bright, golden yellow "petals" with a yellow center. The plant is almost one foot tall and more or less circular in shape.
Life History
Under favorable conditions, ashy dogweed forms dense, circular clumps. Numerous flowers cover the plants after rains, creating a beautiful sight. During dry times, the plants become brittle and dry and the color appears gray to almost white. The small, cup-like empty seed heads remain on the ends of the stem for some time.
Ashy dogweed is restricted to unique soils found in South Texas. The known populations of ashy dogweed are located on the sandy pockets of Maverick-Catarina, Copita-Zapata, and Nueces-Comita soils of southern Webb and northern Zapata counties. Although ashy dogweed has been observed in areas where the ground has been disturbed, it is not known whether this species actually prefers disturbance or if it grows equally well on disturbed and nondisturbed sites.
Historically, ashy dogweed was found in Starr County, but it has not been seen there since 1932. Today, it occurs in the south Texas brush country, in Webb and Zapata counties, Texas.

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