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Montana Field Guides

Whitestem Goldenbush - Ericameria discoidea var. discoidea
Other Names:  Haplopappus macronema var. macronema

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: Species of Conservation Concern in Forests (CG)


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Rare in Montana where it is only known from a couple of sites in the southwest corner of the state. Population levels are poorly documented. One site is relatively inaccessible and not likely to be threatened by human impacts.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Whitestem Goldenbush (Ericameria discoidea var. discoidea) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 05/06/2013
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Population Size

    Score3 - Vey Small: Generally <2,000 individuals.

    Range Extent

    Score1 - Peripheral, Disjunct or Sporadic Distribution in MT: Widespread species that is peripheral, disjunct or sporadically distributed within MT such that it occurs in <5% of the state (<7,500 sq. miles or the combined area of Beaverhead and Ravalli Counties) or is restricted to 4-5 sub-basins.

    Area of Occupancy

    Score3 - Very Low: Generally occurring in 3 or fewer Subwatersheds (6th Code HUC’s).

    Environmental Specificity

    Score1 - Moderate: Species is restricted to a specific habitat that is more widely distributed or to several restricted habitats and is typically dependent upon relatively unaltered, good-quality habitat (C Values of 5-7).


    ScoreNA - Rank factor not assessed.


    Score0-1 - Low to Medium.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    Score1 - Moderate Vulnerability: Specific biological attributes, unusual life history characteristics or limited reproductive potential makes the species susceptible to extirpation from stochastic events or other adverse impacts to its habitat and slow to recover.

    Raw Conservation Status Score

    Score 9 to 10 total points scored out of a possible 16 (Rarity factors and threats only).

General Description
Discoid Goldenweed is a low, rounded shrub with leafy stems that are 15-40 cm tall. Leaves are lance-shaped, widest above the middle, 1-3 cm long, and wavy-margined. The leaves and the inflorescence are glandular, the while stem is densely white-hairy. Flowering heads are borne in clusters of 1-3 at the ends of the branches. The glandular-hairy involucral bracts are 8-15 mm long, and the outer are broader and more leafy than the inner. Ray flowers are lacking. The 10-25 disk flowers are yellow and 8-11 mm long. The achenes have numerous, fine bristles on top.

Flowering occurs in late July-August.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Few other Montana shrubs in the Aster family have stems that are covered with white, felt-like hair. Chrysothamnus parryi and C. nauseosus (rabbitbrush) usually have fewer than 12 flowers per head and the involucral bracts are arranged in well-defined vertical rows instead of overlapping like shingles as in Haplopappus. The other variety of this species in Montana, Haplopappus macronema var. linearis, has narrower leaves that are 8-20 times as long as wide and lack wavy margins.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions


Range Comments
The range of this variety is from se. OR to sw. MT, south to CA and UT. The range of this species as a whole is c. ID, sw MT, south to CA, UT, and CO. Peripheral.

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)

Haplopappus macronema var. macronema grows in rocky, open, sparsely wooded slopes or coarse talus near or above treeline. In the Pioneer Mountains, it grows at about 7600 feet on a south-facing talus slope with scattered whitebark pine, sagebrush, delphinium and gooseberry.
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

Plants of discoid goldenweed grow in partial shade but are usually associated with sparse vegetation. Seedlings may not be able to establish in dense vegetation.

The following animal species have been reported as pollinators of this plant species or its genus where their geographic ranges overlap: Bombus bifarius, Bombus centralis, Bombus huntii, and Bombus melanopygus (Williams et al. 2014).

There are no documented threats to the population in the Pioneer Mountains.

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

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Williams, P., R. Thorp, L. Richardson, and S. Colla. 2014. Bumble Bees of North America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 208 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Hall, H.M. 1928. The genus Haplopappus, a phylogenetic study in the compositae. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication No. 389, Washington D.C. 391 pp.
    • Lesica, P. 1992. Vascular plant and sensitive plant species inventory for the Highland Mountains, Deerlodge National Forest. Unpublished report prepared for the Deerlodge National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 21 pp. plus appendices, photographs.
    • Lesica, P. 1994. Sensitive plant survey of BLM lands along the Big Hole River and in the Whitehall Valley. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 13 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • 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.
    • Schassberger, L.A. 1991. Rare plant inventory of the East Pioneer Mountains. Prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Region 1, Beaverhead National Forest. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 55 pp.
    • Vanderhorst, J.P. and P. Lesica. 1995a. Sensitive plant survey of the Tendoy Mountains in the Beaverhead National Forest, Beaverhead County, Montana. Unpublished report to the Bureau of Land Management, Butte District. Montana Natural Heritage Program, Helena, MT. 59 pp. plus appendices.
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Citation for data on this website:
Whitestem Goldenbush — Ericameria discoidea var. discoidea.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from