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Click to see massive displays of Townsendia leptotes in bloom.

Townsendia leptotes

 

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills to alpine. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, April 26, 2009.

Townsendia leptotes forms mounds several inches high and four-to-ten inches in diameter.  Stemless flower heads sit immediately above the minute leaves and at times totally obscure them. Individual plants are incredibly attractive and are even more so for two reasons beyond their intrinsic beauty: they bloom quite early when much around them is starkly brown (especially on the Mancos Shale the pictured plants are growing on) and many, many plants bloom in the same area at the same time.  Click to see.

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills to alpine. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, April 26 and May 26, 2009.

Beauty in bud and seed.

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes

Townsendia leptotes
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Foothills to alpine. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, June 11, 2008 and April 26, 2009.

The top photograph at left shows Townsendia leptotes in a rare form of only ray flowers.

Experts disagree on the number of rows of phyllaries that T. leptotes has: Weber says 5-7 rows, Welsh 4-7, Intermountain 3-5, and Flora of North America 4-5+.  I have found 4-5 to be the norm in the Lone Mesa population. The phyllaries are often suffused or bordered with the reds of anthocyanin.

The disk pappus hairs (the silky-looking appendages at the top of the tiny ovaries  --  and scattered below Loraine Yeatts' ring) are up to 8 millimeters long and often considerably longer than the pappus hairs of the ray flowers.

Click to see massive displays of Townsendia leptotes in bloom.