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Rayless golden rod

Bigelowia nuttallii.
Bigelowia nuttallii.
  • A tough, evergreen perennial with bright sulphur yellow blooms which attract honey bees and butterflies

Bigelowia is a small genus of plants native to Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Florida in the US.

It is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceaea) and although commonly called Rayless goldenrod it is not related to the similar-looking Solidago.

This slow growing sub-shrub has fine, almost succulent leaves that form in short tufts and will eventually form dense crowns of foliage.

The closely packed umbels of bright yellow flowers are held above the foliage on long, thin stems approximately 30cm long through the summer and into the autumn.

Bigelowia flowers in the second year and the blooms are full of nectar, attracting honey bees as well as butterflies. They make a long-lasting cut flower.

Bigelowia nuttallii is drought resistant once established and is invaluable for xeriscaping. During the winter it is evergreen and when dormant needs no watering at all.

It can be grown in the front of the border, in rock gardens and is also very popular for green roofs. Bigelowia nuttallii will grow happily in poor soils and will tolerate some shade.

Propagation is by seed and, in ideal conditions, it will seed itself around the garden.

The common name 'Rayless goldenrod' refers to the fact that the flowers have disc florets and no ray florets.

The ray florets are the long, thin marginal petals and the disc florets are the tightly packed petals that form in the centre, a common daisy is a good example. Dandelions are composed entirely of ray florets.