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    The genus Townsendia was named by William Jackson Hooker in 1833 for David Townsend of West Chester, Pennsylvania.  Townsend was a banker active in civic affairs and he was a very talented amateur botanist.  (More biographical information.)

     Click for photographs of other species of Townsendia.

Townsendia rothrockii
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings, rocks, tundra. Summer.
Colorado Trail above Rico, July 31, 2007.

Townsendia rothrockii is a Colorado endemic found in about thirteen Colorado counties.  Almost all plants have been found on United States Forest Service lands and the USFS is studying ways to protect this rare plant. (Click for details.)

As the photograph shows, T. rothrockii leaves are long, narrow, and thickened; and ray flowers are blue/pink/white, short, and, in typical Townsendia fashion, the flower head is very large in relation to the rest of the plant.  In the six hundred square foot area where this photograph was taken, there were about a dozen plants in flower and there were at least thirty more basal rosettes of leaves.

Joseph Rothrock collected the first specimen of this plant in South Park in 1873 and Asa Gray named the plant in 1880.  (More biographical information.)

Townsendia rothrockii
Townsendia rothrockii
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Meadows, openings, rocks, tundra. Summer.
Stony Pass, July 21, 2011.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Townsendia rothrockii