This plant is also called wild zinnia or Rocky Mountain Zinnia. It grows in areas where the soil has been disturbed such as roadways, gullies, cattle range, or land scraped for residential development.
The wild zinnia has dark yellow petals with orangish-brown centers. It is low-growing with short, spiky pale green leaves. You will seldom see a solitary plant, but rather several dense mats clumped together. This plant is a natural survivor in our area, actually quite common and hardy. With sufficient moisture, this wild zinnia loses its somewhat brittle quality and appears fuller with brighter blossoms. The blossom stage is very conspicuous and long lasting. Rob Call, Extension Agent, tried transplanting some of these wild zinnias with no apparent success. These flowers win our admiration for the ability to add color and beauty to our sometimes harsh Southwest environment.