The photo above shows showy townsendia as seen in sandy to gravelly soils atop cliffs on the east bank of the Columbia River to the northeast of Vantage, WA..........June 22, 2006.
Showy townsendia is an attractive biennial wildflower with a low growth form. Plants range from 5-16 cm across and have a coarse, appressed hairy herbage. The leaves are long with broad spatulate blades tapering gradually to the long petiole. The lower leaves range from 2-5 cm long with the upper leaves narrower and shorter.
The numerous flower heads are mostly at the ends of the branches. The cup-shaped involucre is 8-10 mm high with wide, lanceolate bracts with white or purplish margins. The 15-30 rays are 9-12 mm long and range from white, cream, pink or lavender in color. The central disk is yellow.
Showy townsendia may be found on dry open plains and foothills, often with sagebrush at elevations up to 1900 meters.
Showy townsendia may be found east of the Cascade Mts. in Washington and Oregon extending to eastern Idaho and extreme southwest Montana, south to western Utah and norhtern Nevada.