By Tony Dean
Dotted gayfeather is a native perennial forb that belongs to the sunflower family. It can grow up to two and one half feet tall, with from one to many stems arising from a woody crown. These stout erect stems can be one-quarter inch thick or thicker.
Dotted gayfeather is adapted to a wide swath of the United States, growing from northern Mexico into Canada and from the Great Lakes to Arizona.
This species is best suited to dry course soils, although it can be found in may soil types. Even in relatively shallow soils, it develops an extensive root system, providing the ability to survive in drier climates. It has a taproot that can extend to seven feet in clay or rocky soils, and to 16 feet in deeper open soils. Strong lateral roots also are developed in the first three feet of depth.
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