Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cutleaf Ironplant?

Sunday afternoon was so beautiful that I talked Greg into taking a small drive along some back country roads south of us, looking for wildflowers that I could re-visit later in the fall to collect seed. My favorite find was this mile-long road, absolutely lined with Maximilian sunflower and goldenrod. This is what I wish all of the Kansas roadsides looked like!

We actually found more plants blooming than I expected: annual sunflower (of course), plains sunflower, the Maximilian sunflower listed above, Jerusalem artichoke, downy goldenrod, several other goldenrods, a Eupatorium, and this mystery plant, a small, yellow aster-looking mound.

Here is a closer view of the flowers.

I have scoured my field guides and done some web research, and I think this is cutleaf ironplant, aka lacy tansyaster, aka spiny goldenweed, aka spiny goldenaster. Ironically, it has almost as many scientific names: Happlopappus spinulosus, Machaeranthera pinnatifida, and Xanthisma spinulosum. Also ironically, I cannot figure out which one is the most accepted currently! I don't think I've ever run across a situation like this before.

Since I cannot find any real negatives to this plant and I thought it was quite pretty along the roadside, I think I will try starting some of it from seed and see how it does in my garden. It tops out at about 15", which could make it an ideal garden plant. It's found in dry situations and is quite drought tolerant, too - a real plus these days!

If anyone thinks this is something else, or knows something negative about cutleaf ironplant, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope to be reporting back to you about how it's doing this time next year!


greggo said...

I drive for my job between winfield and ark city along a 4 lane highway. I'm always on the lookout for natives to put in the garden. I too have spied all the goldenrods and sunflowers. Hve seen a lot of nice varieties of grasses also. I'm beginning a plan to 'stalk' some species. lol.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Oh, that was bad, Greggo! LOL!

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

It looks good. Love roadsides like that one.

Gaia Gardener: said...

Don't you wish all of the Kansas roadsides looked like that, Sherlock? Iowa's DOT, in conjunction with their counties, has a wonderful roadside wildflowers program. Not only better for the environment, but so much prettier to look at as you're driving.