To be honest, my first attempt to grow Four-nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) ended with dead plants at the end of the year. Perhaps I watered them too much, since these perennials are known as hardy and drought tolerant. Apparently I have learned a thing or two since then, as I can say that these yellow flowers can and will bloom in all the months of the year.
Also known as Hymenoxys, Four-nerve Daisy is a member of the Aster Family. Although it is native to the United States and parts of Mexico, it is restricted to an area bounded by Texas and Arizona on the east and west and Nebraska to the north. Another common name for this plant is Bitterweed, which it shares with Helenium amarum, also known as Sneezeweed. Both are native to our area. To avoid confusion, since the flowers are similar in color, look at the leaves. The Four-nerve Daisy has a clump of thin leaves at the base near the ground, with a bare stem. The Sneezeweed has a stem covered with fine thin leaves all the way up to the flower. And, since it is an annual, it will die in the fall and not reappear until the Spring, while Tetraneuris scaposa may be found during all the months of the year, at least with the leaves green even if there are no flowers currently in bloom.
Four-nerve Daisy leaves are concentrated low on the stem, close to the ground. Yellow flower heads are usually found on a stem that rises up from the leaves. Each flower head has 12–26 ray flowers surrounding 25–180 disc flowers. It prefers dry, well-drained soils and often flourishes in caliche, limestone, and sandy loam soils. It does well in rock gardens. In my yard, they are found in the “nuisance strip” between the curb and the sidewalk, surrounded by river rocks. Other folks in Texas report success in caliche (soil that is mostly calcium carbonate mixed with sand and gravel) and even rocks on top of clay. How I managed to kill off my first attempt is anybody’s guess.
As folks who tend plants will tell you, you can extend the blooming period of the plant by pruning off the spent bloom stalks, or “deadheads.” Even if you don’t do this, you might find that this flower will bloom throughout the year. I have taken pictures of this flower on Christmas Day in the past, as well as in January and February, when almost nothing else is in bloom, except for maybe Elbow Bush.
Four-nerve Daisies are highly deer resistant, though attractive to butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. During the winter and late fall, this is sometimes one of the few sources of nectar available. So, if not for your sake, plant some of these around your yard or garden for the sake of the butterflies and bees.