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Marcus, Joseph A.
Chrysactinia mexicana Gray
USDA Symbol: CHME3
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Damianita is a 1-2 ft., bushy, low-growing, aromatic, evergreen shrub with stems rising in a mounded or bouquet form from a woody base. Leaves crowded on the twigs, dark green, up to 3/8 inch long by 1/16 inch or less wide, covered with green to black glandular dots visible under a 10x hand lens. This is a very leafy plant - the narrow, fragrant foliage everywhere except on the 1-3 in. long peduncles. These extend from branch tips and bear a solitary, yellow, composite flower. The flower heads are golden yellow, 1 inch across, commonly with 8 narrow ray flowers, on slender stems at the end of the branches. Fruit very small, 1/8 inch long and with a crown of short bristles visible under a 10x hand lens.
Technically a shrub; used like a flower. Very drought-tolerant.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Shrub Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
1-2 feet. Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
NM , TX Native Distribution:
Edwards Plateau & Trans-Pecos in TX, NM & adjacent Mex. Native Habitat:
Found on caliche and limestone outcrops in the southern half of the Hill Country. Well-drained sand, loam, caliche or limestone. Limestone sites in desert plains & mountains USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Igneous, Limestone-based, Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type.
Conditions Comments: Significant drought hardiness and wonderfully aromatic foliage are two features damianita has going for it. Mainly it blooms in spring, then on and off again through summer. Older plants may take on a twisted, gnarled appearance. Technically a shrub; used like a flower. Creates a vivid, yellow carpet when massed. Excellent border plant for flower bed or a ground cover for hillsides or hot exposed areas. Prune lightly after bloom periods to shape plant. Requires excellent drainage.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Creates a vivid, yellow carpet when massed. Excellent border plant for flower bed or a ground cover for hillsides or hot exposed areas. Showy, Aromatic, Attractive
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site, Nectar-insects
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationDescription: Sow seed in spring, or take softwood cuttings in summer.
Seed Collection: Collect the dry flower heads after the blooming periods and store in paper bags or sealed containers in cool, dry place until spring planting.
Seed Treatment: Sow seed as early as possible, especially in fall.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: To keep damianita more compact, remove the woody stems from underneath and deadhead or tip the tops. Tolerates poor soil.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
March 11, 2009
I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large,...
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Deer resistant, sun tolerant plants for landscaping
April 19, 2007
I live in Driftwood and am looking for flowering, deer-resistant plants for the northern side of my house; however the house turn just enough to the west that the flowerbed receives about 3 hours of a...
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Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-643
Collected 2008-05-18 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2011-03-23
Research By: TWC Staff