The sparsely branched cliff-aster is a tall, perennial plant found along roadsides and cliffs and in other dry, open spaces in Southern California's mountains.
A common chaparral plant, the cliff-aster ( Malacothrix saxatilis) is especially abundant near the coast. Saxatilis in Latin means "rock-dwelling," and the plant often is found among rocks.
Pictured are cliff-asters on Mulholland Highway west of Las Virgenes Road in Malibu Creek State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains above Agoura.
The cliff-aster reaches heights of up to six feet and has narrow, tapering leaves from one to four inches long. Lower leaves usually are coarse-toothed and clustered near the plant's woody base. Upper leaves have smooth margins.