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Montana Field Guides

Cushion Townsend-daisy - Townsendia condensata

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S1S3
(see State Rank Reason below)
State Threat Score: Low
C-value:


Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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.

Phenology
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. The following Townsendia species have stems obscured by leaves and flowers, are perennial, and usually have a woody branched caudex, but can be separated by a combination of these characteristics:

Cushion Townsend-daisyTownsendia condensata, SOC
*Leaves: Villous, spoon-shaped, and 5-20 mm long.
*Flowers: Heads are nearly stemless. Involucre is 10-25 mm high. Ray florets have pink petals that dry to lavender, 6-15 mm long.
*Habitat: Found at and above timberline (subalpine/alpine).

Sword TownsendiaTownsendia spathulata, SOC
*Leaves: Wooly to villous (long, soft, crooked, and unmatted hairs); Spoon-shaped except in Broadwater County where leaves are nearly linear. 5-10 mm long.
*Flowers: Heads are nearly stemless. Involucre is 6-10 mm high. Involucral bracts are villous and have acute tips except in Broadwater County where they are sparsely strigose. Ray florets have off-white or pinkish petals, 4-10 mm long.
*Habitat: Grows on limestone derived soils from low elevations to alpine.

Slender Townsend-daisyTownsendia leptotes, Status Under Review
*Leaves: Sparsely strigose (stiff, straight, sharp, and appressed hairs). Linear to oblong in shape, and 12-25 mm long.
*Flowers: Heads usually sessile. Involucre is 8-12 mm high. Ray florets have white to pinkish petals.
*Habitat: Rocky ridges and sandy slopes.

Hooker’s Townsend-daisyTownsendia hookeri
*Leaves: Densely strigose. Linear to oblanceolate in shape, 5-30 mm long.
*Flowers: The involucre is 7-12 mm high. Involucral bracts have ciliate margins and are tipped with a tuft of hairs (cilia). Ray florets have white to pink petals.
*Habitat: Occurs in grasslands, sagebrush steppe, and woodlands at lower elevations.

Silky Townsend-daisyTownsendia exscapa
*Leaves: Strigose. Linear to oblanceolate in shape, 10-40 mm long.
*Flowers: The involucre is 12-20 mm high. Involucral bracts have ciliate margins and are not tipped with a tuft of hairs (cilia). Ray florets have white to pink petals.
*Habitat: Occurs in grasslands and sagebrush steppe at lower elevations.

Hoary Townsend-daisyTownsendia incana
*Leaves: Densely strigose. Linear in shape, 10-20 mm long.
*Flowers: Heads have peduncles of 3-40 mm long that grow from leafy stems of 1-3 cm long. The involucre is 6-9 mm high. Ray florets have pinkish petals.
*Fruits: Achenes are hairy.
*Habitat: Grows on sandy calcareous soil of grasslands, sagebrush steppe, and woodlands at lower elevations.

Wyoming Townsend-daisyTownsendia montana
*Leaves: Strigose. Leaves are oblong to spatulate in shape, 10-30 mm long.
*Flowers: Heads have peduncles of 3-40 mm long that grow from leafy stems of about 1 cm long. Involucre is 6-11 mm high. Ray florets have blue petals.
*Fruits: Achenes typically lack hairs (glabrous).
*Habitat: Grows on stony, usually calcareous soils of fellfields and meadows in the alpine-subalpine zone.

Species Range
Montana Range Range Descriptions

Native
 


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

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 17

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
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.
Predicted Suitable Habitat Model

This species has a Predicted Suitable Habitat Model available.

To learn how these Models were created see mtnhp.org/models

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species

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

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

Threats or Limiting Factors
STATE THREAT SCORE REASON
Reported threats to Montana’s populations of Cushion Townsend-daisy refer to declines of a population found along a major hiking trail in Glacier National Park. Impacts are also likely at populations where motorcycle recreation is regularly reported in violation of Forest Service travel restrictions. Populations in Montana are few, small and isolated. Observed declines may have serious consequences for state populations. Information about the status of other historic populations is needed to evaluate the magnitude of this threat (MTNHP Threat Assessment 2021).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Beaman, J.H. 1957. The Systematics and Evolution of Townsendia (Compositae). Contributions From the Gray Herbarium CLXXXIII: 1-151.
    • Nunlist, E.A. 2020. Grizzly bears and humans at two moth aggregation sites in Wyoming. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 110 p.
  • Web Search Engines for Articles on "Cushion Townsend-daisy"
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Citation for data on this website:
Cushion Townsend-daisy — Townsendia condensata.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from