Biennials or perennials (rarely flowering first year), 10-40+ cm. Stems ± strigillose (greenish, sometimes ± villous in proximal axils). Heads in ± corymbiform arrays. Peduncles 8-12(-25+) mm. Involucres 4-6 mm. Ray florets (1-)2-3(-4); corolla laminae (6-)8-10+ mm, reflexed in fruit. Disc florets 7-9. Cypselae usually glabrous, sometimes gland-dotted; pap-pi of 4-5 lanceolate to lance-subulate scales 2-3 mm. 2n = 32. Flowering May-Sep. Grasslands, pinyon-juniper scrub, sagebrush scrub, yellow pine forests; 900-2200 m; Ariz., N.Mex., Utah.
FNA 2006, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Heil et al. 2013, Allred and Ivey 2012, MacDougall 1973
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Perennial herbs to subshrubs, 10-40 cm tall, from a woody, often branched caudex, the crown of the caudex usually wooly; stems single or clustered at the base, freely branching above, inconspicuously hairy above the base, often zig-zagging or appearing twisted at the nodes. Leaves: Basal leaves petiolate, withering with age; stem leaves alternate, sessile; basal blades linear to spatulate with entire or occasionally lobed margins, to 10 cm long and 15 mm wide, loosely villous; stem leaves similar but reduced in size, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, less hairy. Flowers: Flower heads yellow, radiate, and showy, arranged in groups of 3-6 in loose panicles on peduncles 1 cm long; involucres cylindric to campanulate, 4-6 mm high, loosely woolly, the bracts (phyllaries) in 1-2 subequal series; ray florets 1-4 per flower head, the laminae (ray petals) 1 cm long, yellow, reflexed in fruit, wider than long and shallowly 3-lobed; disc florets 7-9 per flower head, yellow. Fruits: Achenes linear, usually glabrous, sometimes gland-dotted; topped with a pappus of unequal linear-lanceolate scales, these half as long as disc corollas. Ecology: Found on dry slopes and open woods, often in grasslands and into the pinyon-juniper and higher elevation woodlands from 3,000-7,500 ft (914-2286 m); flowers May-September. Distribution: UT, AZ, and NM Ethnobotany: Known to be toxic, it has also been used ceremonially and medicinally, as an antidiarrheal, a blood purifier, and a poultice for wounds. Synonyms: Riddellia tagetina var. sparsiflora Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2017 Etymology: Psilostrophe is from Greek psilos, naked or bare, and trophos, a nurturer or nurse, alluding to the naked, epaleate receptacle (the "nurse"); while sparsiflora means few-flowered.