AZ Arboretums

Melampodium leucanthum

Blackfood daisyCommon: Blackfoot daisy, Plains blackfoot, Rock daisy
Family: Asteraceae
Origin/Range: Western USA from 2000 to 5000 feet (600 m to 1500 m)
Light: Full sun
Temp: Hardy in Phoenix
Water: Moderate water, little water in winter, needs good drainage

A low, round, bushy plant with flower heads of 8-10 broad white rays surrounding a small yellow central disk.

Plains blackfoot or blackfoot daisy is a low, bushy, mounded perennial, 6-12 in. tall and twice as wide. It is covered with narrow leaves and 1 in. wide, white, daisy-like flowers. The white rays are toothed at the tips and surround yellow disk flowers. These honey-scented flower heads are solitary and terminal on slender stalks.

At first glance, Blackfoot Daisy appears to be the twin of White Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa), but flower heads of the latter species have 4-6 broad white rays and a narrow base of several overlapping scales. Both may be found in the same habitat, but the range of White Zinnia does not extend as far south as Blackfoot Daisy.

Blackfoot daisy likes alkaline soils. It's great for rocky areas and to complement other low-water use plants. It loves full sun, but it's also great in light shade. It does require well-drained soil.