Alpine Meadow Butterweed, Alpine Meadow Groundsel, Buek's Groundsel, Cleftleaf Groundsel, Pale Groundsel
Packera subnuda var. subnuda
Synonyms: Packera buekii, Senecio cymbalarioides, Senecio cymbalarioides var. cymbalarioides, Packera ovina, Senecio ovinus, Senecio subndus
Alpine meadow groundsel as seen in moist meadows along the North Loop Road about one mile downhill from the Kiger Gorge Overlook, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon..........September 2, 2011.
The photo at right shows a sideview of a flower head of alpine meadow butterweed. The photo was taken at Swampy Meadows at the southwestern corner of Mt. Adams..........August 2004.
Alpine meadow butterweed is a delightful, low growing perennial wildflower with one to several erect stems rsing from 10-50 cm high. Although sometimes somewhat tomentose when young, older plants are generally hairless. The basal leaves are long petiolate with wide, thick blades of elliptical to somewhat rounded outline. The margins range from entire to lined with rounded teeth or shallow lobes. The stem leaves are few in number and reduced in size along the stem. The lower stem leaves have short petioles with pinnatifid blades while the upper leaves are bract-like with entire margins.
The few to many flower heads are arranged in an open cyme. The 12 to 20 involucral bracts range from 5-7 mm tall. The yellowish disk ranges from 8-14 mm wide. The yellow rays number approximately a dozen and range from 6-12 mm long.
The taxonomic nomenclature of alpine meadow butterweed has varied quite a bit over the past decade, depending upon the source. The latest I had seen, it is classified as Packera streptanthifolius. In my mind, these two species are distinctly different, both in form (the leaves of streptanthifolius are more highly pinnatifid) and the habits are different (cymbalarioides is typically found in moist meadows, seeps and forests while streptanthifolius tends to be found on drier, rocky or cindery slopes.).
Alpine meadow butterweed is a plant of moist to moderately dry meadows and open forests from subalpine to alpine areas.
Alpine meadow butterweed may be found from the Yukon south through the Pacific Northwest to California and east to the Northwest Territories and south through the Rocky Mts. to New Mexico.
Close-ups of the flowerhead, dorsal surface (center) and ventral surface (right) of a basal leaf blade of alpine meadow groundsel as seen in moist meadows along the North Loop Road about one mile downhill from the Kiger Gorge Overlook, Steens Mountain, Harney County, Oregon.........September 2, 2011.
What appears to be alpine meadow groundsel in bloom next to the trail to the northern Bonny Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness.......August 12, 2018. It was growing on a steep slope several feet above a small outlet stream. The other option is for it to be Packera streptanthifolia
. Note the very reduced stem leaves which would point to the former species.
The photos above shows the lowermost stem leaves and involucral bracts of the flower head of alpine meadow butterweed. Photographed at Swampy Meadows at the southwestern corner of Mt. Adams..........August 2004. Note the long petioles and toothed margins. The acute teeth point forwards and are largely found at the distal margin of the blade.
The photo above shows alpine meadow butterweed in moist wetlands at Swampy Meadows at the southwestern corner of Mt. Adams...........August 2004.
Alpine meadow butterweed as seen in wet meadows at the west end of Maxwell Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness.........August 3, 2016.
A basal leaf of Senecio cymbalarioides from a wet meadow
at the head of Fish Creek, the Steens Mt., southeastern Oregon...........July