AZ Arboretums

Psilostrophe cooperi

Desert zinnia

Common:  Paperflower, Whitestem Paperflower, Cooper's Paperflower
Family:   Asteraceae
Origin/Range: Southeastern California, to southwest Utah, southwestern New Mexico and into Mexico
Light:  Full sun
Hardy to low teens

Water:  Needs little or no water.

Common on the desert flats among the saguaros and mesquite of the upper Sonoran desert. Rounded bush 12-18" (18-45cm) high.

Flowers Apr-Oct, 0.5" - 1" (1.5-2.5cm) with 3-5 broad rays, each with 3 shallow teeth at end surrounding a disk of a few small flowers. Leaves are 3/4" (2cm) long, thick and roundish, prominent veins and coarsely toothed edges.

A good choice for xeriscape gardening, a good (and accurate) accent to a cacti garden. The flowers dry on the plant and fade to a pale yellow, providing a pretty display well after blooming.

Cut to the ground after frost danger is past to expose the new growth coming up from the base. All species are poisonous to livestock.