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Desert Diary
Plants/Desert Bahia


A few prominent plants are like Hollywood stars, getting all the glory while supporting actors and actresses are barely noticed. Who, among people fascinated by Chihuahuan Desert plants, fail to recognize the Desert Marigold--surely one of the stars. Yet many other plants in the same sunflower family deserve recognition for both their beauty and their hardiness in the face of the hostile desert climate.

One such is the Desert Bahia. While admittedly not quite as showy as the Desert Marigold, it only fades into the background when set beside its better known cousin. Divorced from comparison, with yellow, daisy-like flowers up to an inch in diameter accenting silvery foliage, this plant would achieve instant fame. In unlandscaped urban areas, watered only by the scanty desert rain between sidewalk and street, Desert Bahia adds its touch of color. Surviving under these harsh conditions, it gives only a hint of its potential. But placed in the native-plant garden, with a smidgen of extra water, the gardener is paid back many times over for the extra care.
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Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.

<i>Desert Bahia</i>

Desert Bahia (Bahia absinthifolia) growing in an unwatered spot between sidewalk and street. Photograph by A.H. Harris.