By Debbie Roland and Emmy Ulmschneider, Master Gardeners
Another star from Permian Basin Master Gardeners Recommended Plant List is the Skeleton Leaf Goldeneye (Viguiera stenoloba). It is a member of the Asteraceae flower family, the largest of the flowering plants. You might already be familiar with sunflowers or asters. If you look closely at the flowers of sunflowers or asters you will see that the flower actually consists of two kinds of flowers: ray flowers around the outside and disc flowers in the center. It is one of the largest members of this family found in our area forming a green mound of aromatic leaves and perfect for an ornamental shrub. In its native habitat it is evergreen but this far north it is hardy to -10 degrees F.
This plant is native to rocky areas so well drained soil is a must. It grows from the Rio Grande Valley, west to the Trans-Pecos and to the Edwards Plateau and was named for the French botanist, Rene’ Viguier who was at the University of Caen until his death in 1931. The connection between the plant and the botanist is unknown.
Once established it is 3 feet tall and about two feet wide and flowers all through summer until fall. The flowers are yellow and daisy like.
Skeleton Leaf Goldeneye does great in full sun but can also take some light shade. You will need to water regularly until established but after that once every few weeks should be enough. Too much water will guarantee you will plenty of seedlings to share.
At the end of winter but before the plant begins emerging with new growth from the ground, it will need to be cut back. This pruning will encourage new growth. Without pruning, it gets leggy and scraggly.
The flowers on Skeleton Leaf Goldeneye is a nectar plant for butterflies and other insects, provides seeds for birds, is a larval food plant for butterflies and moths and the mounding growth provides cover. The foliage contains volatile oils, hence the name resin weed and has some resistance to deer.
Once established in your yard the heat tolerance is very high. If you want to see this plant, it lives happily in the garden at the Ector County Annex building on 8th Street in Odessa that is maintained by the local Master Gardeners.
With so much to offer, you can’t go wrong by inviting this plant into your yard.
If you have questions, please call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information. Additional information is available at https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu and westtexasgardening.org.