Florida Goldenaster

75

The Florida Goldenaster, Chrysopsis floridana, is a rare and endangered Aster that survives on sand hills in only four central peninsula counties. It is endemic to Florida. It is on the Federal and State endangered lists. Endangerment is due to the conversion of native habitat to agriculture and development. It is also endangered because it is being outgrown by competing species. This is an unusual condition as members of the Asteraceae family are known for their aggressive growth.

Floridana is a short-lived perennial. A cluster of several erect basal rosettes grows from a fibrous stem. Basal ovate leaves are covered with dense, white wooly hairs. Rosette stems are about a foot high. Erect flower stems grow through the rosettes to about 3 feet in height. The inflorescence is like a flat top. There are about a couple dozen flower heads with yellow disc florets and yellow ray florets. Seeds are wind blown.

The specimen in the picture was found in the rare earth gardens at Box Tower in Lake Wales. When I photographed this specimen it was enduring the long drought that was affecting many parts in Florida. The picture shows parts of the plants that are dried up.