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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Elmer's Ragwort - Senecio elmeri
Other Names:  Senecio spribillei

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S2
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: No Known Threats
CCVI: Extremely Vulnerable

Agency Status
USFS: Sensitive - Known in Forests (KOOT)


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in the state. Known from only one high-elevation site in the Cabinet Mountains. Its location in a designated wilderness and its high-elevation habitat should prevent most detrimental imapcts to the species' viability in Montana.
General Description
Fibrous-rooted with a branched caudex. Stems erect to ascending, simple, 10–20 cm. Herbage glabrate to weakly villous. Leaves: basal conspicuously petiolate; blades oblanceolate to ovate, 2–4 cm long, dentate or serrate; lower cauline often larger than basal. Inflorescence cymiform, of 2 to 9 nodding to erect heads. Heads radiate; involucres 7–12 mm high; phyllaries ca. 13, glabrous, often black-tipped. Rays ca. 8; ligules 7–12 mm long. Disk corollas 8–9 mm long. Achenes glabrous (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

The first Montana collection of this entity was erroneously described as a new species (Senecio spribillei) in 2002. Additional collections from the type locality and further investigation show that Montana material is conspecific with Senecio elmeri.

Flowering likely begins in late July-early August with fruits developing from mid-August into September.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Though vegetatively very similar to Senecio amplectens, the heads of S. elmeri are more numerous and smaller in size than S. amplectens.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
Endemic to southern BC and WA, disjunct in Lincoln County, MT (Lesica et al. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 2

(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)

Rocky, alpine slopes
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus bifarius, Bombus flavifrons, Bombus frigidus, Bombus huntii, Bombus melanopygus, Bombus mixtus, Bombus sylvicola, Bombus occidentalis, Bombus insularis, Bombus suckleyi, Bombus flavidus, and Bombus kirbiellus (Schmitt 1980, Thorp et al. 1983, Mayer et al. 2000, Wilson et al. 2010, Pyke et al. 2012, Koch et al. 2012, Williams et al. 2014).

Threats or Limiting Factors
Threat impact not assigned because threats are not known (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Koch, J., J. Strange, and P. Williams. 2012. Bumble bees of the western United States. Washington, DC: USDA Forest Service, Pollinator Partnership. 143 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • Mayer, D.F., E.R. Miliczky, B.F. Finnigan, and C.A. Johnson. 2000. The bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of southeastern Washington. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 97: 25-31.
    • Pyke, G.H., D.W. Inouye, and J.D. Thomson. 2012. Local geographic distributions of bumble bees near Crested Butte, Colorado: competition and community structure revisited. Environmental Entomology 41(6): 1332-1349.
    • Schmitt, J. 1980. Pollinator foraging behavior and gene dispersal in Senecio (Compositae). Evolution 34: 934-943.
    • Thorp, R.W., D.S. Horning, and L.L. Dunning. 1983. Bumble bees and cuckoo bumble bees of California (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Bulletin of the California Insect Survey 23:1-79.
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
    • Wilson, J.S., L.E. Wilson, L.D. Loftis, and T. Griswold. 2010. The montane bee fauna of north central Washington, USA, with floral associations. Western North American Naturalist 70(2): 198-207.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2022. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants, Second Edition. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 779 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Elmer's Ragwort — Senecio elmeri.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from