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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Mountain Starthistle - Centaurea montana
Other Names:  Montane Knapweed, Mountain Cornflower, Mountain Bluet

Non-native Species

Global Rank: GNR
State Rank: SNA

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 0

External Links

General Description
Perennials, 30-70 cm tall. Stems simple or sparingly branched, sparsely tomentose. Leaves mostly 7-18 mm long, 1-4 mm wide, entire or nearly so. Inflorescence corymbiform or heads solitary; peduncles 1.5-7 cm long; involucres 2-2.5 chm high and as broad or broader; bracts imbricate, lanceolate to ovate-triangular with prominent blackish pectinate-lacerate margins extending to the base or nearly so, lacking a definte terminal appendage (except sometimes the inner); outer flowers blue, enlarged and subradiate; inner ones purplish; anthers blackish-purple; achenes short-hairy (pappus 1-1.5 mm long) (adapted from: Welsh et al., 1993, A Utah Flora, 2nd ed.).

Range Comments
Introduced as ornamental; scattered across northern parts of North America, less so in Great Plains and southern tier states and Southeast (Kartesz in prep. 2012).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 3

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Persisting and sometimes spreading from cultivation.

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2006. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 19. Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 6: Asteraceae, part 1. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. xxiv + 579 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Mountain Starthistle — Centaurea montana.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from