Mule Ears

Genus Wyethia
Aster Family (Asteraceae/Compositae)

Plant with very shiny
    green leaves and sunflower-like flower heads

Mule Ears
(Wyethia amplexicaulis)

This is another plant with bright yellow flower heads which resemble sunflowers. It blooms on our foothills in the spring. The leaves are very glossy, and appear to have been varnished. They are supposedly shaped like a mule's ears.

The plant's scientific name (Wyethia) is for Nathaniel Wyeth, an early fur trader. He established Fort Hall, a trading post near present-day Pocatello, Idaho. In 1834 Wyeth accompanied a botanist on an expedition across the country, and this plant was collected and described.

Close-up of a flower head
   -- bright yellow, about 4 inches across

Red Butte Canyon
Wasatch Mountain foothills
Salt Lake County, Utah


by Sandra Bray