Alkali marsh aster
The Four Corners states, the Mojave Desert, and scattered areas to the north
Moist locations with alkaline soils; 700 to 7,500 feet
Alternate, linear, up to 4 inches long
Almutaster pauciflorus, the sole species in a monotypic genus, is characterized by glandular phyllaries, single flowerheads, and linear, grass-like stem leaves. The branched, hairless stems are tall, up to 4 feet, slender, and glandular towards the top. Leaves grow around the base and at wide, alternate intervals along the stems. Stem leaves are sessile while those at the base have short stems. Leaf tips are pointed. Upper leaves are bract-like, much reduced in size, while the flower stalk also has a few (2 to 9) short bracts. Stem bases may be reddish.
Flowerheads have 15 to 30 white to pale pink ray florets around a similar number of yellow disc florets. Beneath are 3 to 4 rows of light green phyllaries, pointed at the tip. The flowerheads are borne singly at the end of long, ascending branches bearing only very short leaves, so the overall appearance is of a large, open cluster.