Perennials, 30-90 cm. Stems branched from bases, pubescent. Leaves opposite; petioles 1-5 mm; blades 3-nerved from bases, oblong, obovate, or ovate, (15-)30-80 × 10-35 mm, bases cordate or truncate, margins crenate-serrate, apices acute to obtuse, faces sparsely pubescent and gland-dotted. Heads erect, usually in loose, paniculiform arrays, sometimes borne singly. Peduncles 2-15 mm, hispid to hirsute. Involucres cylindric to narrowly campanulate, 8-12 mm. Phyllaries 17-20 in 3-5 series, pale green, often purplish, 5-9-striate, unequal, margins narrowly scarious-ciliate (apices acute to acuminate); outer lance-ovate (sparsely pubescent), inner narrowly lanceolate (glabrous). Florets 10-16; corollas purplish, 7-9 mm. Cypselae 3-4 mm, densely pubescent to velutinous; pappi of 40-52 white, barbellate bristles. 2n = 18.
Flowering Jul-Oct. Oak woodlands, open limestone hillsides; 1500-2000 m; Ariz., N.Mex.; Mexico.
FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb to 1 m tall; stems 1-many, erect to decumbent, branched from bases, pubescent to villous on upper parts. Leaves: Opposite, on petioles 1-5 mm long; blades 3-nerved from bases, broadly ovate to oblong, 3-8 cm long by 1-3.5 cm wide, with heart-shaped, truncate, or clasping bases and crenate-serrate margins, both faces sparsely pubescent and gland dotted. Flowers: Flower heads discoid, arranged in more or less racemose arrays, the peduncles erect, slender, 2-15 mm long, hispid to hirsute; involucre (ring of bracts wrapped around the flower head) cylindric to narrowly campanulate, 8-12 mm high, the bracts (phyllaries) 17-20 in 3-5 series, pale green, often purplish, 5-9 striate, unequal with narrowly scarious-ciliate margins; florets 10-16, all discs, the corollas purplish, 7-9 mm. Fruits: Achenes 3-4 mm, densely pubescent to velutinous, topped with a pappus of 40-52 white, barbellate bristles. Ecology: Found on dry slopes, often in grasslands to oak woodlands, from 4,500-6,500 ft (1372-1981 m); flowers June-October. Distribution: AZ, NM; south to MEX. Notes: Brickellia is a genus of shrubs and perennial herbs with all disc flowers, these usually white to cream colored; flower heads wrapped in several rows of bracts (phyllaries), the outer rows shorter than the inner rows; and 10-nerved seeds topped with white tufts of bristles. B. betonicifolia is distinguished by its opposite, sessile leaves with clasping leaf bases and toothed edges; and overall quite hairy herbage. It is similar to B. amplexicaulis but that species is not as hairy as B. betonicifolia. To distinguish between the two, use your hand lens and look at the peduncles (flower stalks), which are hairy on B. betonicifolia and covered with gland-tipped hairs on B. amplexicaulis. Ethnobotany: Unknown, but other species in the genus have uses. Etymology: Brickellia is named for Dr. John Brickell (1749-1809), a botanist and physician in Georgia; betonicifolia refers to the leaves and their birch-like appearance (genus Betula). Synonyms: Brickellia betonicaefolia Editor: SBuckley 2010, AHazelton 2015