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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Desert Groundsel - Senecio eremophilus

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1S2
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Known from at least 5 occurrences, including two historical collections. Little data are available for this species in Montana. More information is needed. May be more common than collections indicate.
General Description
Desert Groundsel is a short-lived, glabrous, perennial herb with a solitary stem that is 3-12 dm high and arising from a short taproot. The lowest leaves are inconspicuous, while the others are alternate and little reduced upwards. Each leaf has a short petiole and a lance-shaped blade that is 4-15 cm long with deeply lobed and coarsely toothed margins. Numerous flower heads are borne in an open, flat-topped, terminal inflorescence. The heads have a single series of ca. 13 non-overlapping, narrow, pointed, minutely black-tipped involucral bracts that are 7-9 mm long. The ca. 40 disk flowers are yellow, and the ca. 8 yellow rays are 6-10 mm long. The achene has a pappus at its summit.

Our plants are variety eremophilus.

Flowering in late June.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Senecio is a large genus, and a technical manual should be consulted for positive identification.

Species Range

Range Comments
AK to QC south to AZ, NM and SD (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 9

(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)

Moist streambanks and riparian forests in the valley and montane zones.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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Citation for data on this website:
Desert Groundsel — Senecio eremophilus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from