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Pyrrocoma crocea
  
Pyrrocoma crocea var. croceaSynonym: Haplopappus croceus. (Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Kilpacker Trail, July 22, 2004.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

Pyrrocoma crocea
 
Pyrrocoma crocea var. croceaSynonym: Haplopappus croceus. (Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Top:
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.
Left: Kilpacker Trail, July 22, 2004.

Pyrrocoma crocea looks, at first glance, as if it is a cross between a Wyethia (long, broad, upright basal leaves; very large flower head) and Hymenoxys hoopesii (prominent light-colored leaf mid-vein; long, upright flower stem; large golden yellow flowers with narrow rays).  It isn't a blend of the two but since it even shares some of their habitats, misidentification is easy.

Pyrrocoma croceas can grow to three feet tall in montane meadows and may be growing in the same area as Hymenoxys hoopesii, but Pyrrocoma really prefers more moist and seasonally wet meadows and roadsides. 

"Pyrrocoma" is Greek for "tawny mane" and refers to the pappus color. "Crocea", from the Greek for "Crocus", refers to the saffron/orange color of the flower.

Charles Parry collected the first specimens of this plant for science in 1862 and Asa Gray named it Haplopappus croceus in 1864 .  Edwin Greene renamed it Pyrrocoma crocea in 1894.

Pyrrocoma crocea var. croceaSynonym: Haplopappus croceus. (Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Kilpacker Trail, July 22, 2004.

Pyrrocoma crocea var. croceaSynonym: Haplopappus croceus. (Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

The large, rounded, overlapping, cabbage-looking (see below) phyllaries are key in identifying this species.

 

Pyrrocoma uniflora
 
Pyrrocoma uniflora var. unifloraSynonyms: Haplopappus uniflorus, Haplopappus lanceolatus. (Plantain Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Grand Mesa, July 12, 2017.

Pyrrocoma uniflora might at first appear to be a Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) or an Agoseris, but the basal leaves are not lobed as they are in Dandelions and most distinctly, Pyrrocoma uniflora has both ray and disc flowers; species of Taraxacum and Agoseris have only ray flowers.

Pyrrocoma uniflora can grow to 15 inches tall (7 inches show here) with hairy or glabrous red tinged stems that most often arch outward from the ground. Basal leaves are long and narrow; stem leaves much shorter and narrow.

I wanted a photograph of this plant in situ, but it began raining so I collected it, pressed it, and later identified it. I did see more Pyrrocoma uniflora along the Crag Crest Trail on Grand Mesa, but once again rain prevented photography. 

As observed above, "Pyrrocoma" is Greek for "tawny mane" and refers to the pappus color, but the pappus hairs of this specimen are nearly silvery, not tawny.

Thomas Drummond collected the first specimens of this plant for science, in the mid-1820s and Joseph Hooker named it Donia uniflora in 1834. Torrey and Gray renamed it Haplopappus uniflorus in 1842 and Edward Greene renamed it Pyrrocoma uniflora in 1894.

Pyrrocoma uniflora

Pyrrocoma uniflora

Pyrrocoma uniflora var. unifloraSynonyms: Haplopappus uniflorus, Haplopappus lanceolatus. (Plantain Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Grand Mesa, July 12, 2017.

I tore the head in two to examine the pappus hairs. In these photographs, the left side of the plant flower head should be placed on top of the right side to make the flower head whole. The first photograph at left shows one side of the flower head and the second photograph shows the flower head turned over to expose the other side.

Phyllaries (red arrows) are narrowly lanceolate and nearly equal in length. Outer phyllaries are almost always green, but inner phyllaries (the upper red arrow) may be (as shown here) green only on the upper part of the phyllary.

Pappus hairs (red arrow in the second photograph) are about as long as the golden, tubular, disc corollas (blue arrow). Pappus hairs of Pyrrocoma uniflora are said to be "tawny" or "sordid", but the hairs on this specimen are nearly silvery.

Silky hairs cover the seeds (black arrows).

Pyrrocoma uniflora

Pyrrocoma uniflora var. unifloraSynonyms: Haplopappus uniflorus, Haplopappus lanceolatus. (Plantain Goldenweed)
Asteraceae (Sunflower Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Openings, woodlands. Summer.
Grand Mesa, July 12, 2017.

Soft, tangled hairs may abound on leaves and stems or leaves may be nearly glabrous. Basal and stem leaves may be entire (as shown in this specimen) or may be toothed or cut into narrow, irregular lobes ("laciniate").

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 Pyrrocoma crocea  

Pyrrocoma uniflora

Range map for Pyrrocoma uniflora