Wyethia angustifolia

From Puget Prairie Plants
  • Latin Name: Wyethia angustifolia
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Photo by Ben Legler 2005
    Common Names: mule’s ears, California compass-plant, narrowleaf wyethia.
  • Synonyms/Misapplications: Alarconia angustifolia DC
  • Codon: WYEANG


Wyethia angustifolia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
Phylum: Spermatophyta
Subphylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Wyethia
Species: Wyethia angustifolia (DC) Nutt.


General: Tap-rooted, leafy-stemmed perennial, the stems stout but lax, 2-9 dm. tall, the herbage covered with short, stiff, blunt hairs. Leaves: Leaves mostly entire, the basal ones enlarged, with narrow, elongate blades, 1.5-5 dm. long and 2.5-10 cm. wide, tapering at both ends; cauline leaves smaller and variable. Flowers: Heads usually solitary; involucral bracts lance-linear, in several series, herbaceous, with conspicuous hairs on the margins; rays 13-21, chrome-yellow, pistillate and fertile, 1.5-3.5 cm. long; disk flowers light yellow, perfect and fertile; receptacle broadly convex, chaffy throughout, the bracts clasping the achenes; pappus of petal-like appendages. Fruit: Achenes compressed-quadrangular [1]

Bloom Period

  • April-July


From the east edge of the Columbia Gorge to the confluence of the Willamette river, south through the Willamette Valley of Oregon to California.


  • The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.
  • Meadows and moist, open hillsides at low elevations.


  • Raw stems used for food; seeds used for pinole (food) and dried for winter use; decoction of leaves used to reduce fever and induce perspiration; decoction of roots taken as an emetic; poultice of root lather used for lung problems and to draw blisters.
  • The seed can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickener in soups or can be added to cereal flours when making bread etc. Young leaves can be eaten raw. A lemon-yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A gold to brass dye is obtained from the flowers, leaves and stems.[2]


Soak or stratify seed. Seeds should receive cool-moist stratification 90-120 days for proper germination


Sample From: 2010

Average Measurement: 7.6 x 2.5 x 2.2

Measurement Range: L: 7 - 8, W: 2 - 3, D: 1.9 - 2.5

Latitudinal Cross Section: circular Cerkal.png

Longitudinal Cross Section: elliptical Rede.png

Shape: Seed is long and narrow. Seed is narrow at hilum and broadens at opposite apex.

Additional Structures: Pappus that is attached at apex opposite hilum. Pappus fibers are broad at the base and are attached in a circular pattern. Pappus very brittle, and about ½ the length of the seed body.

Color: Hilum white, seed body medium brown, and pappus is tan to off-white.

Surface: Seed is matte with short bristles that are concentrated toward the pappus. Seed has many longitudinal ridges.

Basic Explanations and Assumptions:

The dimensions for the seeds are length x width x depth. The location of the hilum is used as the base of the seed, and the length is measured from hilum to the opposite apex. Where a style is present, the length is measured from the hilum to the bottom of the style. Width is measured at a right angle to the length at the widest part. Depth is measured at a right angle to the intersection of height and width lines.

Measurements included are the mean average for each measurement of ten separate seeds.

All measurements in millimeters unless otherwise noted.


Photo Gallery[3]

  1. WTU Herbarium, Burke Museum, & University of Washington. Retrieved from https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Wyethia angustifolia
  2. Native American Ethnobotany Database. Retrieved from http://naeb.brit.org/
  3. https://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Wyethia%20angustifolia