[Groundsels: The Genera Packera and Senecio East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]
Lambstongue Groundsel, Tall Western Groundsel, Western Groundsel
Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus
Synonyms: Senecio integerrimus var. vaseyi, Senecio vaseyi
A close-up of the inflorescence (as seen from directly above) of western groundsel (var. exaltatus) as seen from Brooks Memorial State Park near Satus Pass, Washington..........May 11, 2014 (left) and May 4, 2021 (right).
The photo at
right is of western groundsel (var. exaltatus) as seen from the Columbia Hills,
north of Dallesport, WA..........6-1-97.
Western groundsel is a stout, solitary stemmed perennial from a fibrous-rooted
crown which grows from 20-70 cm tall. The stems may be branched slightly. The
herbage is cobwebby-hairy when young, and tends to become smooth or glabrous
with age. The basal leaves are petiolate with entire to irregularly toothed
leaf margins. The basal leaves are commonly from 6-25 cm long and 1-6 cm wide.
The stem leaves become reduced upwards, and become sessile.
The several to numerous flower heads often form a congested inflorescence.
The involucre is usually 5-10 mm tall with the bracts in one row, each having
a pointed, black tip (see upper photo). The flower heads usually have both disk
and ray flowers. The rays are usually 6-15 mm long.
Senecio integerrimus var. vaseyi: Flower heads discoid. It may
be found from the Cascade and Wenatchee Mts. of central Washington and possibly
south through the Cascades to California.
Senecio integerrimus var. exaltatus: Flower heads yellow with
both disk and ray flowers. The basal leaves tend to oblanceolate or elliptic
in shape. It may be found east of the Cascade crest in dry woodlands and prairies
from northern Washington south to the Columbia River gorge and possibly south
to California. It is found eastward through Washington and Oregon to northern
Idaho and Montana.
Senecio integerrimus var. ochroleucus: Flower heads white or
creamy colored. The basal leaves tend to be deltoid or subcordate. (See lower
photo.) It may be found in open areas across the range of the species.
Western groundsel is found from the lowlands to well into the mountains on
open ground or open woods which are moist in spring and dry during the summer.
Western groundsel is found from southern British Columbia south to California,
and east to Saskatchewan and Minnesota.
Western groundsel concentrates alkaloids from the soil, and so is poisonous
to livestock. Early in the season, this hasn't become a problem yet, so it might
be grazed by sheep, elk, and cattle. It is an indicator of overgrazing on rangeland.
Several close-upimages of the black-tipped involucral bracts and flower heads of western groundsel (var. exaltatus) from the Columbia Hills, north of Dallesport, WA.......May 1, 2005. Note the loose white hairs on the bracts.
The photo above shows western groundsel as seen left along the Hells Canyon Rim Road in Hells Canyon NRA........June 28, 2008. Western groundsel as seen right along the Round Mountain South Trail #805 near the summit of Round Mountain, Ochoco National Forest.........May 28, 2016.
Additional photos of western groundsel as seen at the northern trailhead for Baldy Mt., Malheur National Forest................July 2, 2010.
The photo above shows western groundsel as seen at an elevation of 6150 feet along Forest Road #40 about 2 miles northwest of Misery Springs in the Umatilla National Forest of southeastern Washington.........June 25, 2007. The onion at its base is Allium fibrillum.
Western groundsel (var. exaltatus) at left from Reecer Creek
Road, Wenatchee N.F.......June 22, 1997. The photo at center shows western groundsel in bloom along Trail #808A at the top of south facing slopes above Brush Creek on Lookout Mt., Ochoco National Forest........May 29, 2016. The photo at right shows western groundsel as seen in scablands along Forest Road 22 about 0.3 miles west of the junction with Forest Road 22-400, Ochoco National Forest.......May 10, 2017.
Western groundsels beginning to bloom at a steep bald along FS Road 4230 about one mile north of Horse Prairie, Ochoco National Forest......May 19, 2018. A western pine elfin is nectaring on the flower heads.
Western groundsel as seen in scablands along Forest Road #30 at the eastern edge of Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco National Forest.........May 10, 2017.
Western groundsel with flower heads evidently lacking ray flowers as seen atop Bethel Ridge in the Oak Creek Wildlife Area, Yakima County, WA......June 8, 2019.
The inflorescence of western groundsel as seen at left in young ponderosa pine forest on Bickleton Ridge in the Bickleton Ridge Unit of the Klickitat Wildlife Area...........May 7, 2017. The photo at right shows the inflorescence of western groundsel as observed on BLM scablands about one-quarter of a mile north of the Upper Falls of the North Fork Crooked River and just south of the Ochoco National Forest boundary......April 26, 2018.
Western groundsel beginning to bloom under the oaks at Brooks Memorial State Park, off US 97 near Satus Pass......May 11, 2020.
Western groundsel as observed along the Deadman Canyon Trail #1869 about one mile north of the trailhead at Fish Lake Campground, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.......July 18, 2019.