Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Sword Townsend-daisy - Townsendia spathulata

Potential Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G3
State Rank: S3S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank: 3

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Sword townsendia occurs in limestone areas of southwest and south-central Montana. Overall, The species' viability in the state does not appear to be at risk due in part to its relatively widespread distribution and its overall abundance. The population in the Limestone Hills in Broadwater County may be negatively impacted by proposed mine expansion and military activities.
General Description
Sword Townsendia is a perennial 1-5 cm tall with a stemless crown surmounting a taproot. Leaves are spathulate, 1-1.5 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, covered by dense, long hairs which give them a woolly appearance, and tightly clustered in a rosette. 1-many flower heads are sessile, or solitary on leafless stalks. Ray flowers are 1-2 cm long, with a pale off-white color.

Flowering early May to late June. Plants flower and disperse fruit in a two-four week period.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Distinguished from other Townsendia species in our area by pale, off-white rays and spathulate leaves. This name has been misapplied in the past to include T. condensata.

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Bighorn, Park, Fremont, Sweetwater, Natrona Counties, Wyoming; and mountainous portions of southern Montana.

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 148

(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)

Open, rocky, limestone-derived soils of slopes and windswept ridgetops in the foothills to the alpine; often in mountain mahogany woodlands and cushion plant grasslands.

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Heidel, B.L. 1994. Status review of sword townsendia (Townsendia spathulata) and Limestone Hills survey, Broadwater County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management, Butte District. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, Montana. 14 pp. plus appendices.
    • Lesica, P. and P.L. Achuff. 1992. Distribution of vascular plant species of special concern and limited distribution in the Pryor Mountain desert, Carbon County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 105 pp.
    • Lesica, P., K. Lackschewitz, J. Pierce, S. Gregory and M. O'Brien. 1986. Noteworthy collections: Montana. Madrono 33:310-312.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Mincemoyer, S. 2005. Surveys of significant plant resources and related vegetation types for the Butte Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 11 pp + appendices.
    • Quire, R.L. 2013. The sagebrush steppe of Montana and southeastern Idaho shows evidence of high native plant diversity, stability, and resistance to the detrimental effects of nonnative plant species. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 124 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Sword Townsend-daisy"
Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Sword Townsend-daisy — Townsendia spathulata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from