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Brickellia grandiflora

Brickellia grandiflora

Brickellia grandiflora (Large-flowered Bricklebush)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Rocky areas. Summer.
West Fork of the Cimarron Trail, Uncompahgre Wilderness, August 22, 2004 and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, November 12, 2013.

The toothed, triangular leaves and large, rayless, drooping, white/cream/yellow flowers of Bricklebush are distinctive.   Bricklebush grows from under a foot tall to over three feet tall and several feet wide with flowers up to two inches long.  Leaves are  1.5 to 10 cm long and .6 to 6.5 cm wide, considerably larger than those of B. microphylla pictured below. 

Although Brickellia grandiflora is fairly common, it is frequently overlooked  --  even after you get to know it.  I often find it, not by seeing the plant first, but by becoming aware that I am in its rocky habitat and then looking for it.  Sure enough, I am standing right next to a Brickellia grandiflora!

In late autumn, Brickellia grandiflora sports numerous seeds ready to be carried on the winds by their white pappus hairs.

Dr. John Brickell was an early American physician and naturalist. (More biographical information about Brickell.)

Brickellia grandiflora
Brickellia grandiflora (Large-flowered Bricklebush)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills, montane, subalpine. Rocky areas. Summer.
West Fork of the Cimarron Trail, Uncompahgre Wilderness, August 22, 2004.

Brickellia microphylla
Brickellia microphylla variety scabra  (Small-leaf Bricklebush)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy, rocky areas, woodlands. Summer.
Lower Butler Wash, Utah, October 18, 2009.

Brickellia microphylla grows to more than two feet tall (as pictured here) with woody stems and masses of small flowers heads, each containing 8-18 disk flowers in a tight, vertical cluster.  Leaves are oval-to-round-to-heart-shaped and are considerably smaller (only 3-18 mm long and 1-9 mm wide) than those of B. grandiflora.  Leaves pictured here are no more than 9 mm long and 5 mm wide.

Thomas Nuttall discovered this plant for science in the mid-1830s and named it Bulbostylis microphylla. Asa Gray renamed the species Brickellia microphylla in 1852 and then renamed it B. microphylla variety scabra in 1876.

Brickellia microphylla
Brickellia microphylla variety scabra  (Small-leaf Bricklebush)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy, rocky areas, woodlands. Summer.
Lower Butler Wash, Utah, October 18, 2009.

The three photographs of B. microphylla shown on this page were taken in the early fall when flowers were long gone and the plants were yellowing and drying. This year's seed heads are brown; last year's seeds have dropped off and only the white star-burst of the phyllaries surrounding the receptacle remain.

 

Brickellia microphylla
Brickellia microphylla variety scabra (Small-leaf Bricklebush)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert. Sandy, rocky areas, woodlands. Summer.
Lower Butler Wash, Utah, October 18, 2009.

Leaves are small, numerous, heart-shaped, often with a few small teeth, and the leaves are rough ("scabrous"), the roughness resulting from stiff, pustulate hairs and (sometimes) greatly raised venation.

 

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Brickellia grandiflora

Range map for Brickellia microphylla

   Brickellia microphylla variety scabra 

Range map for Brickellia microphylla variety scabra