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Also known as the Desert marigold, this herb is canescent-tomentose, with heights attained to one half meter; this plant is generally branched only at base. Leaves, measuring two to ten centimeters, are mostly basal and on the lower stems. Ray flowers contain 50 to 60 bright yellow florets, while the numerous disc florets are somewhat brownish tinged yellow.
As with all Asteraceae, the center of genetic diversity is in the High Andes, and this species likely migrated northward when the Central American isthmus was formed circa three million years ago, and abandoned its southern ancestors.