Chrysactinia mexicana, commonly known as Damianita, is a small, woody subshrub with delightfully aromatic foliage, blanketed with yellow daisy-type flowers in spring and sporadically at other seasons. Being native to the Chihuahuan Desert, it adapts well to the intense sunlight and heat of the low desert. Its needle-like foliage is deep green and dense and can be lightly spotted; it is handsome year-round. Straw-colored seedheads follow the flowers but are not very ornamental. It is a small plant, normally about 1-2 ft (30-60 cm) high and 2 ft (60 cm) wide.
A note on the loss of my first plant. I decided it was in the wrong location and attempted to move it. Like some other desert species, it deeply resented the attempt! It wilted within minutes of being dug and never recovered, despite a fairly good (I thought!) transplanting job. I read afterwards that it is, in fact, a very difficult plant to move successfully. Very!
A few more facts, mostly from the Wildflower.org site, in matters which I can't test in my own garden! Damianita is said to be hardy to 0 F (-18 C). In the wild it is found on limestone and caliche, which would make it a gem for some very difficult gardening situations. It is undoubtedly extremely drought-tolerant and grows well in alkaline soils. As with many plants with fragrant foliage, it is deer and rabbit resistant.
I wish I knew the background of the common name. Any information out there?
So far as I am concerned, this is a staple plant for a desert garden. Despite its small size, it supplies year-round structure and intense seasonal color, besides being as carefree as a plant could well be! A little supplemental water will be necessary in the low desert, being careful not to overwater as seasons change; and it will look neater if seedheads are trimmed occasionally. Other than that, it needs little attention -- other than admiration!