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Stanleya pinnata (Desert princes' plume)
Bransford, W.D. and Dolphia

Stanleya pinnata

Stanleya pinnata (Pursh) Britton

Desert Princes' Plume, Golden Princes' Plume, Golden Desert Plume, Sentinel Of The Plains

Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Golden prince’s-plume is a graceful, desert perennial. Its leaves are mostly basal on low, branched, sub-woody crowns. The towering flowering stalks are 5-6 ft. tall and bear racemes of bright-yellow flowers. The flowers are reminiscent of cleomes or spider flowers. Stem leaves are lance-shaped and pinnately divided. Slender wands of yellow flowers top tall, stout, smooth, bluish-green, leafy stems.

This is a conspicuous and beautiful wildflower in the arid West, its flowers generally standing above any nearby shrubs. All other species have yellow flowers without hairs except White Desert Plume (S. albescens), which has hairs on the inside of its white petals. It occurs from northeastern Arizona to west-central Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.

The genus was named in honor of Lord Edward Stanley, a former President of the Linnean Society. The species pinnata describes the feathery appearance of the lower leaves.


From the Image Gallery

18 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , KS , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OR , SD , TX , UT , WY
Native Distribution: ND to ID, s. to w. TX, s.e. CA, and Chihuahua in Mexico
Native Habitat: Dry, stony slopes & washes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Stony or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available


Description: Propagate by seed.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seed germinate without pretreatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Tohono Chul Park, Inc. - Tucson, AZ
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.6 - Saving Trees and Plants at New Center Site a Big Job, Director's Report, Wildflo...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Stanleya pinnata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Stanleya pinnata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Stanleya pinnata


Record Modified: 2015-12-21
Research By: TWC Staff

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