Annuals, biennials, or perennials, 15-100 cm. Stems erect, branched from bases or ± throughout, floccose-woolly. Leaves basal and cauline; alternate; petiolate (basal) or sessile (cauline); blades lance-linear to broadly ovate, sometimes pinnately lobed or pinnatifid, ultimate margins entire, faces usually floccose-woolly. Heads radiate, borne singly or in cymiform arrays. Involucres campanulate to hemispheric, 5-25 mm diam. Phyllaries persistent, 8-13 or 21-34 in 2 series (spreading to erect in fruit, distinct, mostly lance-linear, subequal, floccose-tomentose). Receptacles flat to convex, shallowly pitted, epaleate. Ray florets 5-7 or 20-55, pistillate, fertile; corollas (usually marcescent) yellow. Disc florets 10-20 or 40-100+, bisexual, fertile; corollas yellow (hairy), tubes shorter than throats, lobes 5, ± deltate (anther appendages ovate; style-branch apices truncate to acute). Cypselae narrowly obpyramidal, weakly ribbed or striate, glandular-pubescent; pappi usually 0 (rarely of scales). x = 16.
Baileya is perhaps best known by B. multiradiata, which is the most widely distributed, most abundant, and (usually) earliest blooming of the three species in the genus. The large-headed vernal form is particularly attractive; this, together with its long flowering season and its drought tolerance, have given the plant recognition in horticultural circles.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services [MG-70-19-0057-19].