hairy false goldenaster

(Heterotheca villosa var. minor)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed



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Hairy false goldenaster (var.minor) is an erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 50 or more stems from a long, deeply penetrating taproot. It can be 6 to 19 tall, though it is usually no more than 13 in height.

The stems range from erect to reclining on the ground with just the tips ascending. They are rough to the touch, sometimes reddish-brown, and sometimes whitish near the top. They have 3 types of hairs. They are sparsely to densely covered with straight, stiff, sharp, appressed hairs. They often have sparse to abundant long, coarse, stiff, spreading hairs. They are sparsely to densely covered with gland-tipped hairs.

There are no basal leaves. Stem leaves are alternate and are not crowded. Lower stem leaves are inversely lance-shaped, to 1½ long, and to 5 16 wide. They are attached to the stem on short leaf stalks. The leaf blades are usually narrowly to broadly concave wedge-shaped at the base, rarely rounded at the base, and broadly or narrowly angled at the tip. There is sometimes a short, sharp, abrupt point at the tip. The upper and lower surfaces are rough to the touch due to a sparse to moderate covering of straight, stiff, sharp, appressed hairs.The surfaces may also be sparsely to moderately covered with gland-tipped hairs. The margins are untoothed and flat, sometimes wavy toward the tip. There are straight, stiff, sharp, appressed hairs along the entire margin and sparse to abundant long, coarse, stiff, spreading hairs near the base. Lower stem leaves are usually absent at flowering time.

Upper stem leaves are similar, narrowly to broadly inversely lance-shaped or oblong, to 1 long, and to ¼ wide, becoming more or less smaller as they ascend the stem.

The inflorescence is a cluster of usually 1 to 13, sometimes as many as 42, flower heads at the end of each stem. The flower heads are 1 to 1½ wide. They are on to 1½ long or longer stalks that are moderately to densely hairy and usually also sparsely to moderately glandular hairy. The flower heads are subtended by 1 to 7 or more bracts that are greatly reduced in size, usually linear-oblong, and are not leaf-like.

The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head (involucre) is cylinder-shaped to bell-shaped and ¼ to 5 16 wide. There may be 7 to 26 yellow ray florets, though usually there are no more than 18. The strap-like portion of the ray floret is usually ¼ to long. There are 10 to 85, usually 20 to 50, yellow disk florets.

The fruit is a 1 16 to long achene with 30 to 45 off-white bristles attached to the end. The achene is inversely cone-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end, and has 4 to 10 ribs.



6 to 13


Flower Color

Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets


Similar Species

Ballard’s goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa var. ballardii) stems and leaves do not have gland-tipped hairs. The bracts are often long enough to extend beyond the involucre.

Hairy false goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa var. villosa) upper leaves are inversely lance-shaped. The upper and lower leaf surfaces either have no gland-tipped hairs or a sparse covering of gland-tipped hairs.

Leafy false goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa var. foliosa) upper leaves are oblong. The upper and lower leaf surfaces are moderately to densely hairy, the hairs often dense enough to completely obscure the leaf surface. The flower heads are subtended by 1 to 7 or more inversely lance-shaped, leaf-like bracts. The bracts are often long enough to extend beyond the head.

Stiffleaf false golden aster (Heterotheca angustifolia) leaves are densely crowded and are pale green to grayish-green. The flower heads are subtended by 1 to 3 leaf-like bracts. The flower head stalks are no more than long.


Dry. Open places. Full sun.



July to October


Pests and Diseases





Distribution Map



3, 4, 29, 30.









Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)




Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)






Astereae (asters and allies)




Heterotheca (false goldenasters)




Heterotheca villosa (hairy false goldenaster)


This variety was formerly treated as Heterotheca villosa var. hispida. However, that name was invalid because it did not have priority at the varietal rank. In 1994 the name was changed to Heterotheca villosa var. minor.

Plants of the World Online and GBIF both treat Heterotheca villosa var. minor as a synonym of Heterotheca hirsutissima.


Subordinate Taxa




Chrysopsis arida

Chrysopsis bakeri

Chrysopsis columbiana

Chrysopsis hirsutissima

Chrysopsis hispida

Chrysopsis villosa var. hispida

Chrysopsis wisconsinensis

Heterotheca villosa var. hispida

Heterotheca wisconsinensis


Common Names

hairy false goldenaster









A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.


Glandular hairs

Hairs spread over aerial vegetation that secrete essential oils. The oils act to protect against herbivores and pathogens or, when on a flower part, attract pollinators. The hairs have a sticky or oily feel.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.

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