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Malacothrix saxatilis
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Cliff Aster
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Malacothrix saxatilis

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About Cliff Aster (Malacothrix saxatilis) Malacothrix saxatilis is a species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common name cliff desertdandelion. It is endemic to California, where it grows in the central and southern coastal hills and mountain ranges. It is a perennial herb growing 30 to 60 centimeters tall from a rhizome and caudex unit. The leaves are variable in size and shape and may be lobed or not. The flower cluster is an array of flower heads lined with lance-shaped phyllaries. The ray florets are 1 or 2 centimeters long and white in color. There are five varieties which intergrade, some of which are very limited in distribution.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb

Max. Height
1 - 2 ft (0.3 - 0.6 m)

Flower Color

Flowering Season
Summer, Fall, Winter

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Sand dunes and open places


Elevation ?
-4136' - 8278'

Annual Precip. ?
5.3" - 45.5"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.13"

Coldest Month ?
34.1° F - 57.9° F

Hottest Month ?
59.7° F - 85.0° F

Humidity ?
0.79 vpd - 36.22 vpd


Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Propagation ?
For propagating by seed: No treatment. gives slow and sporadic germination.

Common uses
Butterfly Gardens, Bee Gardens

Nursery Availability
Sometimes Available

Other Names
Common Names
Cliff Desertdandelion

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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