Dwarf Saw-wort - Saussurea densa
Saussurea nuda var. densa
State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from a handfull of small occurrences along the Rocky Mountain Front, primarily in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Limited data are available for most occurrences leading to the uncertainty in the species' rank.
Dwarf Saw-wort is a dwarf perennial herb that is 5-20 cm high and arising from a woody rootstock. The lance-shaped leaf blades are coarsely toothed, up to 8 cm long, and have a broad petiole. The alternate leaves are crowded on the stem, reduced, and lacking petioles towards the tops. The herbage is covered with long, tangled hairs when young but becomes glabrous with age. The purple flowering heads are borne in a dense cluster subtended by leaves at the top of the stem. The narrow involucral bracts of the heads are 11-15 mm long. All of the flowers are tubular (disk flowers); ray flowers are absent. The achene has a pappus on top.
Our plants are variety densa (Hook.) Hulten.
Flowering in July-early August, fruiting in late August.
The clustered, purple, rayless flowering heads, together with the rocky, high elevation habitat, are distinctive. The similar S. weberi occurs in southwest Montana mountains and has broad involucral bracts with rounded tips.
AK to MT; Asia (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).
Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations:
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(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)
Calcareous soil of talus slopes and rocky, open slopes in the alpine zone.
Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
- Commonly Associated with these Ecological Systems
- 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.
- Watson, T.J. and K.H. Lackschewitz. 1980. The genus Saussurea (Asteraceae-Cynareae) in Montana. Northwest Science 54(2):106-108.