Heterotheca grandiflora – Telegraphweed

Heterotheca grandiflora - Telegraphweed, Telegraph Weed, Silk-grass Goldenaster

Heterotheca grandiflora - Telegraphweed, Telegraph Weed, Silk-grass Goldenaster

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Heterotheca grandiflora

Synonym: Heterotheca floribunda

Common Names: Telegraphweed, Telegraph Weed, Silk-grass Goldenaster

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual, Biennial, Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Hawaii Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized weedy wildflower is native to North America.

Flower Color: Yellow

Height: Up to 6 1/2 feet (2 m) tall, but usually half that

Description: The flower heads are in branched, semi-flat-topped clusters at the stem tips. The individual flower heads have 20 to 40 slender, yellow rays and golden yellow disks. The leaves are light green, hairy, basal below, alternate on the stems, larger near the base of the plant, coarsely toothed, sessile above and petiolate below, and oblong, egg-shaped, or oblanceolate in shape. The stems are green, glandular hairy, upright, and unbranched below.

Telegraphweed grows along roadsides and in other dry, sunny, open, low to high elevation disturbed areas.

This is the only Heterotheca species found here in Hawaii.

Special Characteristics

Foul-smelling – The foliage and especially the sticky stems have a rank, camphor-like odor. Touching these plants can leave the unpleasant smell on your hands.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae – Aster family
Genus: Heterotheca Cass. – false goldenaster
Species: Heterotheca grandiflora Nutt. – telegraphweed

More About This Plant

Hawaii County Distribution Map