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Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana.  Synonyms: Hymenoxys argentea, Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana(Perky Sue, Ives' Four-nerved Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Bow Tie Arch, Utah, April 17, 2014 and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 23, 2013, April 26, 2007, and May 25, 2010.

Top photograph: Even seemingly solid rock masses harbor tiny niches for plants.

Second photograph: In the early morning sun, dozens of Tetraneuris ivesiana dot the landscape.

Third photograph: Plants grow in tufts of a dozen or so vertical leaves and each tuft of leaves usually has about four flowering stems. When the plant finds its perfect conditions, it is quite showy.

Tetraneuris ivesiana
Tetraneuris ivesiana.  Synonyms: Hymenoxys argentea, Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana(Perky Sue, Ives' Four-nerved Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 13, 2004.

Perky Sue is very abundant and cheerful, and it is one of our favorite friends. Its short, tight green tuft of usually hairy green leaves is quite evident in the early spring and the plant becomes even more evident when the long leafless flower stalks topped by a single bright yellow flower emerge. It is common to find areas with dozens of plants scattered widely about. The flower is a bright golden yellow to lemon yellow, and its dozen or so notched ray flowers stick out very straight from the central disk flowers.

As is true for most plants, physical characteristics of Tetraneuris ivesiana vary. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is in the hairiness of the basal tuft of leaves. I find that plants in the area of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado have noticeably hairy basal leaves; plants in Utah Canyon Country tend to have smooth or minutely hairy basal leaves.

This plant was first collected for science either by Bradbury in the early 1800s or by Thomas Nuttall in 1811 or 1835 or by Augustus Fendler near Santa Fe in 1846. Its names are even more confusing than its collection information; the plant has endured many name changes over the centuries. Most botanists now accept Edward Greene's 1898 name of Tetraneuris ivesiana. Utah plant authority, Stanley Welsh, considers this plant Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana.

"Tetraneuris" is Greek for "four nerves", referring to the nerves on the ray flowers, and "Ivesiana" honors J. C. Ives, leader of the Ives Expedition. (More biographical information about Ives.)

Tetraneuris ivesiana
Tetraneuris ivesiana.  Synonym: Hymenoxys argentea, Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana (Perky Sue, Ives' Four-nerved Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Corona Arch Trail, Utah, April 13, 2005.

Notice what a great difference there is between the width and length of the ray flower petals on the just opened bud in the background and those on the fully mature flower in the foreground.  Many members of the Sunflower family show this contrast.  Descriptions of plants almost always give you the characteristics of the mature flower.

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana.  Synonym: Hymenoxys argentea, Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana (Perky Sue, Ives' Four-nerved Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 28, 2006 and May 27, 2009.

The notched petals, the even rows of green, finger-like phyllaries, and the densely hairy stems are diagnostic characteristics. 

The second photograph shows the uncommon characteristic of white and yellow ray flower petals. There is always variety in nature.

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana

Tetraneuris ivesiana.  Synonym: Hymenoxys argentea, Hymenoxys acaulis variety ivesiana (Perky Sue, Ives' Four-nerved Daisy)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Near the Corona Arch Trail, Utah, April 1, 2006 and
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 11, 2016 .

You can see the densely hairy root crown of Tetraneuris ivesiana exposed by erosion in the lower right side of the photograph. One common name for this plant is "Woollybase".

Leaves are long, narrow (linear), vibrant green, sharply pointed, and in dense clusters.

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 Tetraneuris ivesiana