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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Cushion Townsend-daisy - Townsendia condensata

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S1S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 2

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Cushion townsendia is known in Montana from one presumed extant occurrence in Glacier National Park and three other historical collections from GNP and the Beartooth Mountains. Risks are likely minimal given the remoteness of its alpine habitat.
General Description
Cushion Townsendia is a small, stemless, perennial daisy which forms small cushions, usually less than 2 cm tall, from simple or branched rootstocks. Its leaves are narrowly to broadly spatula shaped, 6-15 mm long and 1-3 mm wide, and are loosely covered by long, woolly, multi-cellular hairs. The flowers are borne in stemless composite heads There are usually 3-5 series of linear to narrowly lance shaped involucre bracts. The strap-shaped corollas ("petals") of the ray flowers are white, pink, or lavender, and are 8-16 mm long. The disk flowers have shorter, yellow, tubular corollas. Both ray and disk corollas are encircled by a pappus of slender bristles. The achenes (dry, 1-seeded fruit) are 4.2-6.2 mm long and moderately hairy.

Flowering occurs in July in the higher mountains, and has been noted as early as May in lower mountain ranges such as the Tendoy Range.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Townsendia spathulata is our only other stemless Townsendia with narrowly spoon-shaped rather than linear leaves; it also differs in that it has densely, long-hairy leaves, and the heads are usually less than 15 mm wide. Townsendia condensata and T. spathulata have been confused in some floristic treatments. The flower heads of T. condensata are nearly as large as the leaf rosettes.

Species Range

Range Comments
AB south to CA, UT and WY (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 16

(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)

The species inhabits open, rocky, often limestone-derived soil of exposed ridges and slopes near or above treeline. In Glacier National Park, it grows on the shingle of exposed ridges and slopes; reported associates include Eriogonum androsaceum and Dryas octopetala.

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

The low stature and sparsely vegetated habitat suggest that this species is a poor competitor.

Risks are likely minimal given the remoteness of this species' high-altitude habitat.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Beaman, J.H. 1957. The Systematics and Evolution of Townsendia (Compositae). Contributions From the Gray Herbarium CLXXXIII: 1-151.
    • 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:
Cushion Townsend-daisy — Townsendia condensata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from